International immunopharmacology

Polycation-decorated PLA microspheres induce robust immune responses via commonly used parenteral administration routes.

PMID 25466267


Recombinant viral subunit-based vaccines have gained increasing attention due to their enhanced safety over the classic live-attenuated or inactivated vaccines. The low immunogenicity of the subunit antigen alone, however, requires the addition of an adjuvant to induce immunity. Particulate-based delivery systems have great potential for developing new vaccine adjuvants, compared to traditional aluminum-based saline adjuvants. The physicochemical properties of particulate vaccines have been extensively investigated; however, few studies have focused on how the administration route of various adjuvant-antigen combinations impacts the efficacy of the immune response. Here, for the first time, the viral Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) was combined with aluminum-based or cationic-microsphere (MP) based adjuvants to investigate the characteristics of immune responses elicited after immunization via the subcutaneous, intramuscular, or intraperitoneal routes respectively. In vitro, the MP-based vaccine significantly increased dendritic cell (DC) activation with up-regulated CD40 and CD80 expression and IL-12 production compared to alum-based vaccine. After immunization, both MP and alum-based vaccines produced increased IgG titers in mice. The administration route of these vaccines did influenced immune responses. The MP-based vaccine delivered via the intramuscular route yielded the highest levels of the IgG2a isotype. The alum-based vaccine, delivered via the same route, produced an IgG1-dominated humoral immune response. Moreover, subcutaneous and intramuscular immunizations with MP-based vaccine augmented Granzyme B, Th1-type cytokines (IL-2, IL-12, and IFN-γ), and Th2 cytokine IL-4 secretions. These results demonstrate that MP-based vaccines have the capacity to induce higher cellular and humoral immune response especially via an intramuscular administration route than an alum-based vaccine.