Carbohydrate fatty acid sulphate esters (CFASEs) formulated in a squalane-in-water emulsion are effective adjuvants for humoral responses to a wide range of antigens in various animal species but rise in body temperature and local reactions albeit mild or minimal hampers application in humans. In rabbits, body temperature increased 1°C one day after intramuscular (IM) injection, which returned to normal during the next day. The effect increased with increasing dose of CFASE but not with the number of injections (up to 5). Antigen enhanced the rise in body temperature after booster immunization (P<0.01) but not after priming. Synthetic CFASEs are mixtures of derivatives containing no sulphate, one or multiple sulphate groups and the monosulphate derivatives (CMS) were isolated, incorporated in a squalane in-water emulsion and investigated. In contrast to CFASE, CMS adjuvant did not generate rise in body temperature or local reactions in rabbits immunized with a purified, recombinant malaria chimeric antigen R0.10C. In comparison to alum, CMS adjuvant revealed approximately 30-fold higher antibody titres after the first and >100-fold after the second immunization. In ferrets immunized with 7.5μg of inactivated influenza virus A/H7N9, CMS adjuvant gave 100-fold increase in HAI antibody titres after the first and 25-fold after the second immunisation, which were 10-20-fold higher than with the MF59-like AddaVax adjuvant. In both models, a single immunisation with CMS adjuvant revealed similar or higher titres than two immunisations with either benchmark, without detectable systemic and local adverse effects. Despite striking chemical similarities with monophospholipid A (MPL), CMS adjuvant did not activate human TLR4 expressed on HEK cells. We concluded that the synthetic CMS adjuvant is a promising candidate for poor immunogens and single-shot vaccines and that rise in body temperature, local reactions or activation of TLR4 is not a pre-requisite for high adjuvanticity.
Keywords: TLR4; Vaccine adjuvants; ferrets; influenza; rabbits; synthetic carbohydrate derivatives.
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