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Adjuvants Based on Synthetic Mycobacterial Cord Factor Analogues: Biophysical Properties of Neat Glycolipids and Nanoself-Assemblies with DDA

Kallerup, Rie S.; Franzyk, Henrik; Schiøth, Mikkel L.; Justesen, Sarah; Martin-Bertelsen, Birte; Rose, Fabrice; Madsen, Cecilie M.; Christensen, Dennis; Korsholm, Karen S.; Yaghmur, Anan; Foged, Camilla

By 12 March 2019No Comments

Molecular Pharmaceutics, 2017, vol 14, 7, pp. 2294-2306



Synthetic mycobacterial cord factor analogues, e.g., trehalose 6,6′-dibehenate (TDB), are highly promising adjuvants due to their strong immunopotentiating capabilities, but their biophysical properties have remained poorly characterized. Here, we report the synthesis of an array of synthetic TDB analogues varying in acyl chain length, degree of acylation, and headgroup display, which was subjected to biophysical characterization of neat nondispersed self-assembled nanostructures in excess buffer and as aqueous dispersions with cationic dimethyldioctadecylammonium (DDA) bromide. The array comprised trehalose mono- (TMX) and diester (TDX) analogues with symmetrically shortened acyl chains [denoted by X: arachidate (A), stearate (S), palmitate (P), myristate (Myr), and laurate (L)] and an analogue with a short hydrophilic polyethylene glycol (PEG) linker inserted between the trehalose headgroup of TDS and the acyl chains (PEG-TDS). All dispersions were liposomes, but in contrast to the colloidally stable and highly cationic TDX-containing liposomes, the zeta-potential was significantly reduced for DDA/TMX and DDA/PEG-TDS liposomes, suggesting a charge-shielding effect, which compromises the colloidal stability. An increased d-spacing was observed for the lamellar phase of neat TDB analogues in excess buffer (TDS < TMS < PEG-TDS), confirming that the charge shielding is caused by an extended molecular configuration of the more flexible headgroup. Differential scanning calorimetry showed highly cooperative phase transitions for all tested dispersions albeit the monoesters destabilized the lipid bilayers. Langmuir experiments demonstrated that incorporation of TDXs and PEG-TDS stabilized DDA monolayers due to improved hydrogen bonding and reduced intermolecular repulsions. In conclusion, data suggest that the DDA/TDS dispersions exhibit favorable physicochemical properties rendering these DDA/TDS liposomes an attractive vaccine adjuvant, and they emphasize that not only the receptor binding and immune activation but also the biophysical properties of immunopotentiator formulations should be collectively considered when designing adjuvants with optimal safety, efficacy, and storage stability.

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