Impact of the saponin adjuvant QS-21 and aluminium hydroxide on the immunogenicity of recombinant OspA and OspB of Borrelia burgdorferi

Vaccine. 1994 Aug;12(10):925-32. doi: 10.1016/0264-410x(94)90036-1.


The impact of the adjuvants QS-21 and aluminium hydroxide (alum) on the immunogenicity of recombinant outer surface proteins A (OspA) and B (OspB) of Borrelia burgdorferi was investigated. Both non-acylated OspA and OspB derived from strain B31 were expressed in Escherichia coli and purified by reversible citraconylation and anion-exchange chromatography. Antisera to OspA or OspB were prepared in mice with antigens formulated with QS-21 or alum, and evaluated for specific immunoglobulin G isotypes, agglutination and borreliacidal activity. QS-21 significantly enhanced IgG2a and IgG2b antibody responses to OspA and OspB, and IgG1 response to OspA when compared with the formulation containing antigen alone. In contrast, alum significantly inhibited the induction of IgG2a and IgG2b responses to OspA. Alum had no significant effect on IgG1 response to OspA, or IgG2a and IgG2b responses to OspB, but significantly enhanced IgG1 antibody response to OspB. Antisera to OspA or OspB formulated by QS-21 possessed higher titres of agglutinating antibody than antisera to OspA or OspB alone. Borreliacidal activity was eight- to 64-fold higher in antisera to OspA formulated with QS-21 than in antisera to OspA formulated with or without alum. These antisera were highly borreliacidal to New York strain B31, a California isolate CA-2-87, German isolate Fr, and Swedish isolate G25. Antisera to OspB formulated with QS-21 were highly borreliacidal to strains B31 and Fr, but not to CA-2-87 and G25. Antisera to OspB formulated with alum were borreliacidal only to B31. Thus, OspA was superior to OspB and QS-21 superior to alum at eliciting functional antibody responses.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / administration & dosage*
  • Agglutination
  • Aluminum Hydroxide / administration & dosage*
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / blood
  • Antigens, Bacterial*
  • Antigens, Surface / immunology*
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / immunology*
  • Bacterial Vaccines
  • Borrelia burgdorferi Group / immunology*
  • Female
  • Immune Sera / immunology
  • Immunization
  • Immunoglobulin Isotypes / blood
  • Lipoproteins*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C3H
  • Saponins / administration & dosage*
  • Vaccines, Synthetic / immunology*


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Antigens, Surface
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins
  • Bacterial Vaccines
  • Immune Sera
  • Immunoglobulin Isotypes
  • Lipoproteins
  • OspA protein
  • Saponins
  • Vaccines, Synthetic
  • OspB protein, Borrelia burgdorferi
  • Aluminum Hydroxide
  • saponin QA-21V1