Abstract: Adjuvants are crucial components of vaccines. They significantly improve vaccine efficacy by modulating, enhancing, or extending the immune response and at the same time reducing the amount of antigen needed. In contrast to previously licensed adjuvants, current successful adjuvant formulations often consist of several molecules, that when combined, act synergistically by activating a variety of immune mechanisms. These “combination adjuvants” are already registered with several vaccines, both in humans and animals, and novel combination adjuvants are in the pipeline. With improved knowledge of the type of immune responses needed to successfully induce disease protection by vaccination, combination adjuvants are particularly suited to not only enhance, but also direct the immune responses desired to be either Th1-, Th2- or Th17-biased. Indeed, in view of the variety of disease and population targets for vaccine development, a panel of adjuvants will be needed to address different disease targets and populations. Here, we will review well-known and new combination adjuvants already licensed or currently in development—including ISCOMs, liposomes, Adjuvant Systems Montanides, and triple adjuvant combinations—and summarize their performance in preclinical and clinical trials. Several of these combination adjuvants are promising having promoted improved and balanced immune responses.
Abstract: The mechanism by which vaccine adjuvants enhance immune responses has historically been considered to be the creation of an antigen depot. From here, the antigen is slowly released and provided to immune cells over an extended period of time. This “depot” was formed by associating the antigen with substances able to persist at the injection site, such as aluminum salts or emulsions. The identification of Pathogen-Associated Molecular Patterns (PAMPs) has greatly advanced our understanding of how adjuvants work beyond the simple concept of extended antigen release and has accelerated the development of novel adjuvants. This review focuses on the mode of action of different adjuvant classes in regards to the stimulation of specific immune cell subsets, the biasing of immune responses towards cellular or humoral immune response, the ability to mediate epitope spreading and the induction of persistent immunological memory. A better understanding of how particular adjuvants mediate their biological effects will eventually allow them to be selected for specific vaccines in a targeted and rational manner.
Abstract: Most commercial vaccines offered to the aquaculture industry include inactivated antigens (Ag) formulated in oil adjuvants. Safety concerns are related to the use of oil adjuvants in multivalent vaccines for fish, since adverse side effects (e.g., adhesions) can appear. Therefore, there is a request for vaccine formulations for which protection will be maintained or improved, while the risk of side effects is reduced. Here, by using an inactivated salmonid alphavirus (SAV) as the test Ag, the combined use of two Toll-like receptor (TLR) ligand adjuvants, CpG oligonucleotides (ODNs) and poly I:C, as well as a genetic adjuvant consisting of a DNA plasmid vector expressing the viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus (VHSV) glycoprotein (G) was explored. VHSV-G DNA vaccine was intramuscularly injected in combination with intraperitoneal injection of either SAV Ag alone or combined with the oil adjuvant, Montanide ISA763, or the CpG/polyI:C combo. Adjuvant formulations were evaluated for their ability to boost immune responses and induce protection against SAV in Atlantic salmon, following cohabitation challenge. It was observed that CpG/polyI:C-based formulations generated the highest neutralizing antibody titres (nAbs) before challenge, which endured post challenge. nAb responses for VHSV G-DNA- and oil-adjuvanted formulations were marginal compared to the CpG/poly I:C treatment. Interestingly, heat-inactivated sera showed reduced nAb titres compared to their non-heated counterparts, which suggests a role of complement-mediated neutralization against SAV. Consistently elevated levels of innate antiviral immune genes in the CpG/polyI:C injected groups suggested a role of IFN-mediated responses. Co-delivery of the VHSV-G DNA construct with either CpG/polyI:C or oil-adjuvanted SAV vaccine generated higher CD4 responses in head kidney at 48 h compared to injection of this vector or SAV Ag alone. The results demonstrate that a combination of pattern recognizing receptor (PRR) ligands, such as CpG/polyI:C, increases both adaptive and innate responses and represents a promising adjuvant strategy for enhancing the protection of future viral vaccines.
Abstract: Modulation of the cytokine milieu is one approach for vaccine development. However, therapy with pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as IL-12, is limited in practice due to adverse systemic effects. Spatially-restricted gene expression circumvents this problem by enabling localized amplification. Intracellular co-delivery of gold nanorods (AuNR) and a heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) promoter-driven expression vector enables gene expression in response to near infrared (NIR) light. AuNRs absorb the light, convert it into heat and thereby stimulate photothermal expression of the cytokine. As proof-of-concept, human HeLa and murine B16 cancer cells were transfected with a HSP70-Enhanced Green Fluorescent Protein (EGFP) plasmid and polyethylenimine (PEI)-conjugated AuNRs. Exposure to either 42 °C heat-shock or NIR light induced significant expression of the reporter gene. In vivoNIR driven expression of the reporter gene was confirmed at 6 and 24 h in mice bearing B16 melanoma tumors using in vivo imaging and flow-cytometric analysis. Overall, we demonstrate a novel opportunity for site-directed, heat-inducible expression of a gene based upon the NIR-absorbing properties of AuNRs and a HSP70 promoter-driven expression vector.
Abstract: DNA vaccine-induced immunity can be enhanced by the co-delivery of synthetic gene-encoding molecular adjuvants. Many of these adjuvants have included cytokines, chemokines or co-stimulatory molecules that have been demonstrated to enhance vaccine-induced immunity by increasing the magnitude or type of immune responses and/or protective efficacy. In this way, through the use of adjuvants, immune responses can be highly customizable and functionally tailored for optimal efficacy against pathogen specific (i.e., infectious agent) or non-pathogen (i.e., cancer) antigens. In the novel study presented here, we examined the use of cellular transcription factors as molecular adjuvants. Specifically the co-delivery of (a) RelA, a subunit of the NF-κB transcription complex or (b) T-bet, a Th1-specific T box transcription factor, along with a prototypical DNA vaccine expressing HIV-1 proteins was evaluated. As well, all of the vaccines and adjuvants were administered to mice using in vivo electroporation (EP), a technology demonstrated to dramatically increase plasmid DNA transfection and subsequent transgene expression with concomitant enhancement of vaccine induced immune responses. As such, this study demonstrated that co-delivery of either adjuvant resulted in enhanced T and B cell responses, specifically characterized by increased T cell numbers, IFN-γ production, as well as enhanced antibody responses. This study demonstrates the use of cellular transcription factors as adjuvants for enhancing DNA vaccine-induced immunity.
Abstract: The attenuated live M. bovis Bacille-Calmette-Guérin (BCG) is still the sole vaccine used against tuberculosis, but confers only variable efficacy against adult pulmonary tuberculosis (TB). Though no clear explanation for this limited efficacy has been given, different hypotheses have been advanced, such as the waning of memory T-cell responses, a reduced antigenic repertoire and the inability to induce effective CD8+ T-cell responses, which are known to be essential for latent tuberculosis control. In this study, a new BCG-based vaccination protocol was studied, in which BCG was formulated in combination with a plasmid DNA vaccine. As BCG is routinely administered to neonates, we have evaluated a more realistic approach of a simultaneous intradermal coadministration of BCG with pDNA encoding the prototype antigen, PPE44. Strongly increased T- and B-cell responses were observed with this protocol in C57BL/6 mice when compared to the administration of only BCG or in combination with an empty pDNA vector, as measured by Th1-type spleen cell cytokine secretion, specific IgG antibodies, as well as specific IFN-γ producing/cytolytic-CD8+ T-cells. Moreover, we observed a bystander activation induced by the coding plasmid, resulting in increased immune responses against other non-plasmid encoded, but BCG-expressed, antigens. In all, these results provide a proof of concept for a new TB vaccine, based on a BCG-plasmid DNA combination.