Stabilization and immune response of HBsAg encapsulated within poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) microspheres using HSA as a stabilizer

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The aim of this study was to prepare poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) microspheres containing hepatitis B virus surface antigen (HBsAg) using human serum albumin (HSA) as a stabilizer. Lyophilization and emulsification of HBsAg solution with dichloromethane caused a considerable loss of HBsAg antigenicity. Thus, the effects of HSA and trehalose on HBsAg recovery during lyophilization and emulsification were investigated. Adding HSA to HBsAg solutions significantly improved antigen recovery to >90% during lyophilization and emulsification. The effects of co-encapsulated HSA on the characteristics of the PLGA microspheres and stability of HBsAg released from the microspheres were also investigated. The in vitro release test showed that HBsAg was released from the PLGA microspheres continuously over seventy days. A large amount of released HBsAg was inactive without co-encapsulation of HSA. On the contrary, with HSA co-encapsulation, the released HBsAg retained approximately 90% of its antigenicity. The single injection of the HBsAg-HSA-loaded PLGA microspheres in rats resulted in higher anti-HBsAg IgG and Th1 cytokine levels than the single injection of the HBsAg-loaded microspheres or two injections of the conventional aluminum-adjuvanted HBsAg vaccine. Based on these findings, the HBsAg-HSA-loaded PLGA microspheres could be an effective carrier for HBsAg and form a promising depot system.

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