Adipose tissue: a new target for electroporation-enhanced DNA vaccines

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DNA vaccines delivered using electroporation (EP) have had clinical success, but these EP methods generally utilize invasive needle electrodes. Here, we demonstrate the delivery and immunogenicity of a DNA vaccine into subcutaneous adipose tissue cells using noninvasive EP. Using finite element analysis, we predicted that plate electrodes, when oriented properly, could effectively concentrate the electric field within adipose tissue. In practice, these electrodes generated widespread gene expression persisting for at least 60 days in vivo within interscapular subcutaneous fat pads of guinea pigs. We then applied this adipose-EP protocol to deliver a DNA vaccine coding for an influenza antigen into guinea pigs. The resulting host immune responses elicited were of a similar magnitude to those achieved by skin delivery with EP. The onset of the humoral immune response was more rapid when the DNA dose was spread over multiple injection sites, and increasing the voltage of the EP device increased the magnitude of the immune response. This study supports further development of EP protocols delivering gene-based therapies to subcutaneous fat.

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