Combination of the cationic surfactant dimethyl dioctadecyl ammonium bromide and synthetic mycobacterial cord factor as an efficient adjuvant for tuberculosis subunit vaccines

Infect Immun. 2004 Mar;72(3):1608-17. doi: 10.1128/IAI.72.3.1608-1617.2004.


Recombinant, immunodominant antigens derived from Mycobacterium tuberculosis can be used to effectively vaccinate against subsequent infection. However, the efficacy of these recombinant proteins is dependent on the adjuvant used for their delivery. This problem affects many potential vaccines, not just those for tuberculosis, so the discovery of adjuvants that can promote the development of cell-mediated immunity is of great interest. We have previously shown that the combination of the cationic surfactant dimethyl dioctadecyl ammonium bromide and the immunomodulator modified lipid A synergistically potentiates Th1 T-cell responses. Here we report a screening program for other adjuvants with reported Th1-promoting activity and identify a second novel adjuvant formulation that drives the development of Th1 responses with an extremely high efficacy. The combination of dimethyl dioctadecyl ammonium bromide and the synthetic cord factor trehalose dibehenate promotes strong protective immune responses, without overt toxicity, against M. tuberculosis infection in a vaccination model and thus appears to be a very promising candidate for the development of human vaccines.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / administration & dosage*
  • Animals
  • Cord Factors / administration & dosage*
  • Cord Factors / chemical synthesis
  • Female
  • Interferon-gamma / biosynthesis
  • Kinetics
  • Lipid A / administration & dosage
  • Lipid A / analogs & derivatives*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds / administration & dosage*
  • Surface-Active Agents / administration & dosage
  • Th1 Cells / immunology
  • Tuberculosis / immunology
  • Tuberculosis / prevention & control
  • Tuberculosis Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Vaccines, Subunit / administration & dosage


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Cord Factors
  • Lipid A
  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds
  • Surface-Active Agents
  • Tuberculosis Vaccines
  • Vaccines, Subunit
  • dimethyldioctadecylammonium
  • Interferon-gamma
  • monophosphoryl lipid A