Bilayer polymeric nanocapsules: A formulation approach for a thermostable and adjuvantedE. coliantigen vaccine

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One of the strategies used to improve the immunogenicity of purified protein antigens has relied on their association with synthetic nanocarriers, which, in general, have functioned as simple antigen containers. Here, we present a more advanced strategy based on the design of an antigen nanocarrier at the molecular level. The nanocarrier is composed of a vitamin E oily core, surrounded by two layers: a first layer of chitosan and a second of dextran sulphate. The selected antigen, IutA protein from Escherichia coli, was harboured between the two polymeric layers. The final bilayer nanocapsules had a nanometric size (≈ 200 nm), a negative zeta potential (< -40 mV) and a good antigen association efficiency (≈ 70%). The bilayer architecture led to an improvement on the formulation stability and the controlled release of the associated antigen. Remarkably, after being administered to mice, bilayer nanocapsules elicited higher IgG levels than those obtained with antigen precipitated with Alum. Moreover, freeze-dried nanocapsules were stable at room temperature for, at least, 3 months. These promising data, in addition to their contribution to the development of an uropathogenic E. coli vaccine, has allowed us to validate these novel bilayer nanocapsules as adequate platforms for the delivery of protein antigens.Graphical abstractHighlightsBilayer nanocapsules protect and control the delivery of their associated antigens.Freeze-dried nanocapsules are stable for at least 3 months at room temperature.Antigen-loaded bilayer nanocapsules elicit higher IgG levels in mice than Alum.

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