Skin vaccination using microneedles coated with a plasmid DNA cocktail encoding nucleosomal histones ofLeishmaniaspp.
Vaccine delivery using microneedles (MNs) represents a safe, easily disposable and painless alternative to traditional needle immunizations. The MN delivery of DNA vaccines to the dermis may result in a superior immune response and/or an equivalent immune response at a lower vaccine dose (dose-sparing). This could be of special interest for immunization programs against neglected tropical diseases such as leishmaniasis. In this work, we loaded a MN device with 60 μg of a plasmid DNA cocktail encoding the Leishmania infantum nucleosomal histones H2A, H2B, H3 and H4 and compared its immunogenicity and protective capacity against conventional s.c. or i.d. injection of the plasmid. Mice immunized with MNs showed increased ratios of IFN-γ/IL-10, IFN-γ/IL-13, IFN-γ/IL-4, and IFN-γ/TGF-β in the spleens and lymph nodes compared with mice immunized by s.c. and i.d. routes. Furthermore, CCXCL9, CXCL10 and CCL2 levels were also higher. These data suggest that the nucleic acid immunization using MNs produced a better bias towards a Th1 response. However, none of the immunizations strategies were able to control Leishmania major infection in BALB/c mice, as illustrated by an increase in lesion size and parasite burden.