The utilization of the cationic lipid R-DOTAP as immune cell stimulant (e.g. its stimulating effects on immature dendritic cells) and correspondingly as possible adjuvant for vaccination is well known. Likewise, it is described in literature that solid polymer particles loaded with antigens can be size-tailored in a manner to be suitable for phagocytosis by antigen presenting cells. The effects of DOTAP-microparticle combinations, however, are not well understood. This study aimed therefore to explore the potential of R-DOTAP stabilized microparticles (MP) to act as a carrier platform for antigens e.g. for cancer vaccination. It was investigated whether or not a combination of R-DOTAP and PLGA leads to a boosted adjuvant effect in dendritic cell maturation.
For proper comparison, neutral and negatively charged MPs of comparable sizes were developed. Toxicity, uptake, routing and maturation of the MP platform was assessed in-vitro on human immature dendritic cells (iDCs).
Interestingly, none of the tested placebo formulations (without antigen) was capable to induce DC maturation when compared to LPS as positive control. This is in contrast to experiments previously reported in literature, where R-DOTAP (e.g. in liposomal form) triggered iDC maturation even without antigen. Possible reasons and further approaches are discussed in the paper.