Novel mucosal adjuvant, mastoparan-7, improves cocaine vaccine efficacy

Ashley L. St. John, Hae Woong Choi, Q. David Walker, Bruce Blough, Cynthia M. Kuhn, Soman N. Abraham, Herman F. Staats

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Cocaine is one of the most potent and addictive psychostimulants known and there are no available pharmacotherapies to treat cocaine addiction. Here we describe a novel cocaine vaccine employing the mucosal adjuvant and mast cell-activating oligopeptide, mastoparan-7 (M7), to achieve optimal IgA antibody responses in mucosal secretions and effective induction of humoral immunity using a short immunization protocol. This formulation, using a hapten-carrier system to deliver cocaine as antigen, also reduced cocaine penetration of the blood brain barrier and protected mice from its psychoactive effects by reducing cocaine-induced locomotion. Surprisingly, the magnitude of cocaine-specific antibody titers induced by each adjuvant was not the major determinant of functional protection from cocaine challenge. A side-by-side comparison of the two haptens, cocaine and its analog GNC demonstrated that cocaine haptenation resulted in superior functional protection when used in combination with the novel mucosal adjuvant, M7. These results provide a new potential strategy for combatting cocaine addiction through mucosal vaccination.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12
Journalnpj Vaccines
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Dec 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Drs. David Moody and David Andrenyak for quantifying cocaine and metabolites in mouse tissues, which was funded by a contract from NIDA (N01DA-14-7788). This work was funded by National Institutes of Health grant #1R21DA029731-01.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, The Author(s).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Novel mucosal adjuvant, mastoparan-7, improves cocaine vaccine efficacy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this