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Impact of Distinct Chemical Structures for the Development of a Methamphetamine Vaccine

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journal contribution
posted on 2011-05-04, 00:00 authored by Amira Y. Moreno, Alexander V. Mayorov, Kim D. Janda
(+)-Methamphetamine (METH) use and addiction has grown at alarming rates over the past two decades, while no approved pharmacotherapy exists for its treatment. Immunopharmacotherapy has the potential to offer relief through producing highly specific antibodies that prevent drug penetration across the blood−brain barrier thus decreasing reinforcement of the behavior. Current immunotherapy efforts against methamphetamine have focused on a single hapten structure, namely linker attachment at the aromatic ring of the METH molecule. Hapten design is largely responsible for immune recognition, as it affects presentation of the target antigen and thus the quality of the response. In the current paper we report the systematic generation of a series of haptens designed to target the most stable conformations of methamphetamine as determined by molecular modeling. On the basis of our previous studies with nicotine, we show that introduction of strategic molecular constraint is able to maximize immune recognition of the target structure as evidenced by higher antibody affinity. Vaccination of GIX+ mice with six unique METH immunoconjugates resulted in high antibody titers for three particularly promising formulations (45−108 μg/mL, after the second immunization) and high affinity (82, 130, and 169 nM for MH2, MH6, and MH7 hapten-based vaccines, respectively). These findings represent a unique approach to the design of new vaccines against methamphetamine abuse.