Scientific reports

A combination hydrogel microparticle-based vaccine prevents type 1 diabetes in non-obese diabetic mice.

PMID 26279095


Targeted delivery of self-antigens to the immune system in a mode that stimulates a tolerance-inducing pathway has proven difficult. To address this hurdle, we developed a vaccine based-approach comprised of two synthetic controlled-release biomaterials, poly(lactide-co-glycolide; PLGA) microparticles (MPs) encapsulating denatured insulin (key self-antigen in type 1 diabetes; T1D), and PuraMatrix(TM) peptide hydrogel containing granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) and CpG ODN1826 (CpG), which were included as vaccine adjuvants to recruit and activate immune cells. Although CpG is normally considered pro-inflammatory, it also has anti-inflammatory effects, including enhancing IL-10 production. Three subcutaneous administrations of this hydrogel (GM-CSF/CpG)/insulin-MP vaccine protected 40% of NOD mice from T1D. In contrast, all control mice became diabetic. In vitro studies indicate CpG stimulation increased IL-10 production, as a potential mechanism. Multiple subcutaneous injections of the insulin containing formulation resulted in formation of granulomas, which resolved by 28 weeks. Histological analysis of these granulomas indicated infiltration of a diverse cadre of immune cells, with characteristics reminiscent of a tertiary lymphoid organ, suggesting the creation of a microenvironment to recruit and educate immune cells. These results demonstrate the feasibility of this injectable hydrogel/MP based vaccine system to prevent T1D.