Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Polymeric synthetic nanoparticles for the induction of antigen-specific immunological tolerance.

PMID 25548186


Current treatments to control pathological or unwanted immune responses often use broadly immunosuppressive drugs. New approaches to induce antigen-specific immunological tolerance that control both cellular and humoral immune responses are desirable. Here we describe the use of synthetic, biodegradable nanoparticles carrying either protein or peptide antigens and a tolerogenic immunomodulator, rapamycin, to induce durable and antigen-specific immune tolerance, even in the presence of potent Toll-like receptor agonists. Treatment with tolerogenic nanoparticles results in the inhibition of CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell activation, an increase in regulatory cells, durable B-cell tolerance resistant to multiple immunogenic challenges, and the inhibition of antigen-specific hypersensitivity reactions, relapsing experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, and antibody responses against coagulation factor VIII in hemophilia A mice, even in animals previously sensitized to antigen. Only encapsulated rapamycin, not the free form, could induce immunological tolerance. Tolerogenic nanoparticle therapy represents a potential novel approach for the treatment of allergies, autoimmune diseases, and prevention of antidrug antibodies against biologic therapies.