Combined cocaine hydrolase gene transfer and anti-cocaine vaccine synergistically block cocaine-induced locomotion

PLoS One. 2012;7(8):e43536. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0043536. Epub 2012 Aug 17.


Mice and rats were tested for reduced sensitivity to cocaine-induced hyper-locomotion after pretreatment with anti-cocaine antibody or cocaine hydrolase (CocH) derived from human butyrylcholinesterase (BChE). In Balb/c mice, direct i.p. injection of CocH protein (1 mg/kg) had no effect on spontaneous locomotion, but it suppressed responses to i.p. cocaine up to 80 mg/kg. When CocH was injected i.p. along with a murine cocaine antiserum that also did not affect spontaneous locomotion, there was no response to any cocaine dose. This suppression of locomotor activity required active enzyme, as it was lost after pretreatment with iso-OMPA, a selective BChE inhibitor. Comparable results were obtained in rats that developed high levels of CocH by gene transfer with helper-dependent adenoviral vector, and/or high levels of anti-cocaine antibody by vaccination with norcocaine hapten conjugated to keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH). After these treatments, rats were subjected to a locomotor sensitization paradigm involving a "training phase" with an initial i.p. saline injection on day 1 followed by 8 days of repeated cocaine injections (10 mg/kg, i.p.). A 15-day rest period then ensued, followed by a final "challenge" cocaine injection. As in mice, the individual treatment interventions reduced cocaine-stimulated hyperactivity to a modest extent, while combined treatment produced a greater reduction during all phases of testing compared to control rats (with only saline pretreatment). Overall, the present results strongly support the view that anti-cocaine vaccine and cocaine hydrolase vector treatments together provide enhanced protection against the stimulatory actions of cocaine in rodents. A similar combination therapy in human cocaine users might provide a robust therapy to help maintain abstinence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adenoviridae / genetics
  • Anesthetics, Local / immunology
  • Anesthetics, Local / toxicity
  • Animals
  • Antibodies / administration & dosage*
  • Antibodies / immunology
  • Butyrylcholinesterase / genetics*
  • Butyrylcholinesterase / metabolism
  • Cocaine / immunology*
  • Cocaine / toxicity
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Gait Disorders, Neurologic / chemically induced
  • Gait Disorders, Neurologic / physiopathology
  • Gait Disorders, Neurologic / therapy*
  • Gene Transfer Techniques*
  • Genetic Vectors / genetics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Motor Activity / genetics
  • Motor Activity / immunology
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • Vaccines / immunology


  • Anesthetics, Local
  • Antibodies
  • Vaccines
  • Butyrylcholinesterase
  • Cocaine