Hollow microneedle-mediated intradermal delivery of model vaccine antigen-loaded PLGA nanoparticles elicits protective T cell-mediated immunity to an intracellular bacterium

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The skin is an attractive organ for immunization due to the presence of a large number of epidermal and dermal antigen-presenting cells. Hollow microneedles allow for precise and non-invasive intradermal delivery of vaccines. In this study, ovalbumin (OVA)-loaded poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) nanoparticles with and without TLR3 agonist poly(I:C) were prepared and administered intradermally by hollow microneedles. The capacity of the PLGA nanoparticles to induce a cytotoxic T cell response, contributing to protection against intracellular pathogens, was examined. We show that a single injection of OVA-loaded PLGA nanoparticles, compared to soluble OVA, primed both adoptively transferred antigen-specific naïve transgenic CD8+ and CD4+ T cells with markedly high efficiency. Applying a triple immunization protocol, PLGA nanoparticles primed also endogenous OVA-specific CD8+ T cells. Immune response, following immunization with in particular anionic PLGA nanoparticles co-encapsulated with OVA and poly(I:C), provided protection against a recombinant strain of the intracellular bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, secreting OVA. Taken together, we show that PLGA nanoparticle formulation is an excellent delivery system for protein antigen into the skin and that protective cellular immune responses can be induced using hollow microneedles for intradermal immunizations.

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