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The Cholera Toxin-Derived CTA1-DD Vaccine Adjuvant Administered Intranasally Does Not Cause Inflammation or Accumulate in the Nervous Tissues

Eriksson, Anna M.; Schon, Karin M. and Lycke, Nils Y.

Although highly effective, the use of GM1-receptor binding holotoxins as nasal mucosal adjuvants has recently been cautioned due to the risk for their accumulation in the brain and other nervous tissues. Therefore we have explored the efcacy of the CTA1-DD adjuvant for its ability to enhance nasal immune responses in mice. We found that despite the lack of a mucosal binding element, the B cell-targeted CTA1-DD molecule was an equally strong adjuvant as cholera toxin (CT). The potency of CTA1-DD was not a result of endotoxin contamination because more than a 50-fold higher dose of LPS was needed to achieve a similar enhancement. Moreover, the adjuvant effect was TLR4-independent and absent in mutant CTA1-E112K-DD, lacking enzymatic activity. The CTA1-DD adjuvant augmented germinal center formations and T cell priming in the draining lymph nodes, and contrary to CT, promoted a balanced Th1/Th2 response with little effect on IgE Ab production. CTA1-DD did not induce inammatory changes in the nasal mucosa, and most importantly did not bind to or accumulate in the nervous tissues of the olfactory bulb, whereas CT bound avidly to the nervous tissues. We believe that the nontoxic CTA1-DD adjuvant is an attractive solution to the current dilemma between efcacy and toxicity encountered in CT-holotoxin adjuvant or Escherichia coli heat-labile toxin-holotoxin adjuvant strategies and provides a safe and promising candidate to be included in future vaccines for intranasal administration.