Nasal administration of influenza vaccine has the potential to facilitate influenza control and prevention. However, when administered intranasally (i.n.), commercially available inactivated vaccines only generate systemic and mucosal immune responses if strong adjuvants are used, which are often associated with safety problems. We describe the successful use of a safe adjuvant Gram-positive enhancer matrix (GEM) particles derived from the food-grade bacterium Lactococcus lactis for i.n. vaccination with subunit influenza vaccine in mice. It is shown that simple admixing of the vaccine with the GEM particles results in a strongly enhanced immune response. Already after one booster, the i.n. delivered GEM subunit vaccine resulted in hemagglutination inhibition titers in serum at a level equal to the conventional intramuscular (i.m.) route. Moreover, i.n. immunization with GEM subunit vaccine elicited superior mucosal and Th1 skewed immune responses compared to those induced by i.m. and i.n. administered subunit vaccine alone. In conclusion, GEM particles act as a potent adjuvant for i.n. influenza immunization.
influenza vaccine; intranasal vaccine; Lactococcus lactis GEM particles
Safe and effective immunization of newborns and infants can significantly reduce childhood mortality, yet conventional vaccines have been largely unsuccessful in stimulating the neonatal immune system. We explored the capacity of a novel mucosal antigen delivery system consisting of non-living, non-genetically modified Lactococcus lactis particles, designated Gram-positive Enhancer Matrix (GEM), to induce immune responses in the neonatal setting. Yersinia pestis LcrV, used as model protective antigen, was displayed on the GEM particles. Newborn mice immunized intranasally with GEM-LcrV developed LcrV-specific antibodies, Th1-type cell-mediated immunity, and were protected against lethal Y. pestis (plague) infection. The GEM particles activated and enhanced the maturation of neonatal dendritic cells both in vivo and in vitro. These dendritic cells showed increased capacities for secretion of pro-inflammatory and Th1-cell polarizing cytokines, antigen presentation and stimulation of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. These data show that mucosal immunization with L. lactis GEM particles carrying vaccine antigens represents a promising approach to prevent infectious diseases early in life.
The successful development of a mucosal vaccine depends critically on the use of a safe and effective immunostimulant and/or carrier system. This review describes the effectiveness and mode of action of an immunostimulating particle, derived from bacteria, used in mucosal subunit vaccines. The non-living particles, designated bacterium-like particles are based on the food-grade bacterium Lactococcus lactis. The focus of the overview is on the development of intranasal BLP-based vaccines to prevent diseases caused by influenza and respiratory syncytial virus, and includes a selection of Phase I clinical data for the intranasal FluGEM vaccine.
carrier-adjuvant; mucosal vaccine technology; particles; Lactococcus lactis; influenza vaccines; RSV vaccines
Identification of safe and effective adjuvants remains an urgent need for the development of inactivated influenza vaccines for mucosal administration. Here, we used a murine challenge model to evaluate the adjuvant activity of GPI-0100, a saponin-derived adjuvant, on influenza subunit vaccine administered via the intranasal or the intrapulmonary route. Balb/c mice were immunized with 1 µg A/PR/8 (H1N1) subunit antigen alone or in combination with varying doses of GPI-0100. The addition of GPI-0100 was required for induction of mucosal and systemic antibody responses to intranasally administered influenza vaccine and significantly enhanced the immunogenicity of vaccine administered via the intrapulmonary route. Remarkably, GPI-0100-adjuvanted influenza vaccine given at a low dose of 2×1 µg either in the nares or directly into the lungs provided complete protection against homologous influenza virus infection.
NB-1008 is a surfactant-stabilized soybean oil-in-water nanoemulsion (NE) adjuvant with influenza virus antigen incorporated into the NE by simple mixing. Intranasal administration of the antigen with NE adjuvant efficiently produces both mucosal and serum antibody responses as well as a robust cellular Th1 immune response. To demonstrate the adjuvant effect of the W805EC NE, a killed commercial influenza vaccine for intramuscular administration (Fluzone or Fluvirin) was mixed with the W805EC NE adjuvant and administered intranasally to naïve ferrets. After a single intranasal immunization, the adjuvanted influenza vaccine elicited elevated serum hemagglutination inhibition (HAI) geometric mean titers (GMTs) ranging from 196 to 905 for the three hemagglutinin (HA) antigens present in the vaccine, which are approximately 19- to 90-fold higher titers at 1/50 the standard intramuscular commercial nonadjuvanted influenza vaccine dose. Seroconversion rates of 67% to 100% were achieved against each of the three viral strains present. The adjuvanted nasal influenza vaccine also produced significant cross immunity to five other H3N2 influenza virus strains not present in the vaccine and produced sterile immunity after challenge with homologous live virus. No safety issues were observed in 249 ferrets receiving the adjuvanted influenza vaccine. These findings demonstrate the ability of W805EC NE to adjuvant nasally administered influenza vaccine and provide a basis for studying the intranasal W805EC-adjuvanted influenza vaccine in humans.
We demonstrated previously that the incorporation of a membrane-anchored form of flagellin into influenza virus-like particles (VLPs) improved the immunogenicity of VLPs significantly, inducing partially protective heterosubtypic immunity by intramuscular immunization. Because the efficacy of mucosal vaccination is highly dependent on an adjuvant, and is particularly effective for preventing mucosal infections such as influenza, we determined whether the membrane-anchored flagellin is an efficient adjuvant for VLP vaccines by a mucosal immunization route. We compared the adjuvant effect of membrane-anchored and soluble flagellins for immunization with influenza A/PR8 (H1N1) VLPs by the intranasal route in a mouse model. The results demonstrate that membrane-anchored flagellin is an effective adjuvant for intranasal (IN) immunization, inducing enhanced systemic and mucosal antibody responses. High cellular responses were also observed as shown by cytokine production in splenocyte cultures when stimulated with viral antigens. All mice immunized with flagellin-containing VLPs survived challenge with a high lethal dose of homologous virus as well as a high dose heterosubtypic virus challenge (40 LD50 of A/Philippines/82, H3N2). In contrast, no protection was observed with a standard HA/M1 VLP group upon heterosubtypic challenge. Soluble flagellin exhibited a moderate adjuvant effect when co-administered with VLPs by the mucosal route, as indicated by enhanced systemic and mucosal responses and partial heterosubtypic protection. The membrane-anchored form of flagellin incorporated together with antigen into influenza VLPs is effective as an adjuvant by the mucosal route and unlike standard VLPs, immunization with such chimeric VLPs elicits protective immunity to challenge with a distantly related influenza A virus.
Currently available influenza vaccines provide suboptimal protection. In order to improve the quality of protective immune responses elicited following vaccination, we developed an oil-in-water nanoemulsion (NE)-based adjuvant for an intranasally-delivered inactivated influenza vaccine. Using a prime-boost vaccination regimen, we show that intranasal vaccines containing the W805EC NE elicited higher titers of serum hemagglutination inhibiting (HAI) antibody and influenza-specific IgG and IgA titers compared to vaccines that did not contain the NE. Similarly, vaccines containing the W805EC NE resulted in higher influenza-specific IgA levels in the bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid and nasal wash when compared to vaccines formulated without NE. The higher antibody titers in mice immunized with the NE-containing vaccines correlated with reduced viral loads in the lungs and nasal turbinates following a high dose viral challenge. Mice immunized with vaccines containing the W805EC NE also showed a reduction in body weight loss following challenge compared to mice immunized with equivalent vaccines produced without NE. Taken together, our results show that the W805EC NE substantially improves the magnitude of protective influenza-specific antibody responses and is a promising mucosal adjuvant for influenza vaccines and vaccines against other mucosal pathogens.
We previously demonstrated that polyphosphazenes, particularly PCEP, enhance immune responses in mice immunized subcutaneously and intranasally. The objective of the present study was to investigate the efficacy of polyphosphazenes as adjuvants when delivered through different routes of vaccine administration.
BALB/c mice were immunized through intranasal, subcutaneous, oral and intrarectal delivery with vaccine formulations containing either influenza X:31 antigen alone or formulated in PCEP. Serum and mucosal washes were collected and assayed for antigen-specific antibody responses by ELISA, while splenocytes were assayed for antigen-specific cytokine production by ELISPOT.
Intranasal immunization with PCEP+X:31 induced significantly higher IgA titers in all mucosal secretions (lung, nasal, and vaginal) compared to the other routes. Serum analysis showed that all mice given the PCEP+X:31 combination showed evidence of enhanced IgG2a titers in all administered routes, indicating that PCEP can be effective as an adjuvant in enhancing systemic immune responses when delivered via different routes of administration.
We conclude that PCEP is a potent and versatile mucosal adjuvant that can be administered in a variety of routes and effectively enhances systemic and local immune responses. Furthermore, intranasal immunization was found to be the best administration route for enhancing IgA titers, providing further evidence for the potential of PCEP as a mucosal adjuvant.
Vaccines for protection against respiratory infections should optimally induce a mucosal immune response in the respiratory tract in addition to a systemic immune response. However, current parenteral immunization modalities generally fail to induce mucosal immunity, while mucosal vaccine delivery often results in poor systemic immunity. In order to find an immunization strategy which satisfies the need for induction of both mucosal and systemic immunity, we compared local and systemic immune responses elicited by two mucosal immunizations, given either by the intranasal (IN) or the intrapulmonary (IPL) route, with responses elicited by a mucosal prime followed by a systemic boost immunization. The study was conducted in BALB/c mice and the vaccine formulation was an influenza subunit vaccine supplemented with GPI-0100, a saponin-derived adjuvant. While optimal mucosal antibody titers were obtained after two intrapulmonary vaccinations, optimal systemic antibody responses were achieved by intranasal prime followed by intramuscular boost. The latter strategy also resulted in the best T cell response, yet, it was ineffective in inducing nose or lung IgA. Successful induction of secretory IgA, IgG and T cell responses was only achieved with prime-boost strategies involving intrapulmonary immunization and was optimal when both immunizations were given via the intrapulmonary route. Our results underline that immunization via the lungs is particularly effective for priming as well as boosting of local and systemic immune responses.
A novel display system is described that allows highly efficient immobilization of heterologous proteins on bacterial surfaces in applications for which the use of genetically modified bacteria is less desirable. This system is based on nonliving and non-genetically modified gram-positive bacterial cells, designated gram-positive enhancer matrix (GEM) particles, which are used as substrates to bind externally added heterologous proteins by means of a high-affinity binding domain. This binding domain, the protein anchor (PA), was derived from the Lactococcus lactis peptidoglycan hydrolase AcmA. GEM particles were typically prepared from the innocuous bacterium L. lactis, and various parameters for the optimal preparation of GEM particles and binding of PA fusion proteins were determined. The versatility and flexibility of the display and delivery technology were demonstrated by investigating enzyme immobilization and nasal vaccine applications.
Avian influenza A H5N1 is a virus with pandemic potential. Mucosal vaccines are attractive as they have the potential to block viruses at the site of entry, thereby preventing both disease and further transmission. The intranasal route is safe for the administration of seasonal live-attenuated influenza vaccines, but may be less suitable for administration of pandemic vaccines. Research into novel mucosal routes is therefore needed. In this study, a murine model was used to compare sublingual administration with intranasal and intramuscular administration of influenza H5N1 virosomes (2 µg haemagglutinin; HA) in combination with the mucosal adjuvant (3′,5′)-cyclic dimeric guanylic acid (c-di-GMP). We found that sublingual immunisation effectively induced local and systemic H5N1-specific humoral and cellular immune responses but that the magnitude of response was lower than after intranasal administration. However, both the mucosal routes were superior to intramuscular immunisation for induction of local humoral and systemic cellular immune responses including high frequencies of splenic H5N1-specific multifunctional (IL-2+TNF-α+) CD4+ T cells. The c-di-GMP adjuvanted vaccine elicited systemic haemagglutination inhibition (HI) antibody responses (geometric mean titres ≥40) both when administered sublingually, intranasally and inramuscularly. In addition, salivary HI antibodies were elicited by mucosal, but not intramuscular vaccination. We conclude that the sublingual route is an attractive alternative for administration of pandemic influenza vaccines.
Annual outbreaks of seasonal influenza are controlled or prevented through vaccination in many countries. The seasonal vaccines used are either inactivated, currently administered parenterally, or live-attenuated given intranasally. In this study three mucosal adjuvants were examined for the influence on the humoral (mucosal and systemic) and cellular influenza A-specific immune responses induced by a nasally administered vaccine. We investigated in detail how the anionic Endocine™ and the cationic adjuvants N3OA and N3OASq mixed with a split inactivated influenza vaccine induced influenza A-specific immune responses as compared to the vaccine alone after intranasal immunization. The study showed that nasal administration of a split virus vaccine together with Endocine™ or N3OA induced significantly higher humoral and cell-mediated immune responses than the non-adjuvanted vaccine. N3OASq only significantly increased the cell-mediated immune response. Furthermore, nasal administration of the influenza vaccine in combination with any of the adjuvants; Endocine™, N3OA or N3OASq, significantly enhanced the mucosal immunity against influenza HA protein. Thus the addition of these mucosal adjuvants leads to enhanced immunity in the most relevant tissues, the upper respiratory tract and the systemic circulation. Nasal influenza vaccination with an inactivated split vaccine can therefore provide an important mucosal immune response, which is often low or absent after traditional parenteral vaccination.
A safe and potent adjuvant is needed for development of mucosal vaccines against etiological agents, such as influenza virus, that enter the host at mucosal surfaces. Cytokines are potential adjuvants for mucosal vaccines because they can enhance primary and memory immune responses enough to protect against some infectious agents. For this study, we tested 26 interleukin (IL) cytokines as mucosal vaccine adjuvants and compared their abilities to induce antigen (Ag)-specific immune responses against influenza virus. In mice intranasally immunized with recombinant influenza virus hemagglutinin (rHA) plus one of the IL cytokines, IL-1 family cytokines (i.e., IL-1α, IL-1β, IL-18, and IL-33) were found to increase Ag-specific immunoglobulin G (IgG) in plasma and IgA in mucosal secretions compared to those after immunization with rHA alone. In addition, high levels of both Th1- and Th2-type cytokines were observed in mice immunized with rHA plus an IL-1 family cytokine. Furthermore, mice intranasally immunized with rHA plus an IL-1 family cytokine had significant protection against a lethal influenza virus infection. Interestingly, the adjuvant effects of IL-18 and IL-33 were significantly decreased in mast cell-deficient W/Wv mice, indicating that mast cells have an important role in induction of Ag-specific mucosal immune responses induced by IL-1 family cytokines. In summary, our results demonstrate that IL-1 family cytokines are potential mucosal vaccine adjuvants and can induce Ag-specific immune responses for protection against pathogens like influenza virus.
Intranasal vaccination is particularly a striking route for mucosal immunization, due to the ease of administration and the induction of both mucosal and humoral immunity. However, soluble antigens (Ag) are not sufficiently taken up after the nasal administration and need to be co-administered with adjuvants, penetration enhancers or encapsulated in particles. So, in this study, tetanus toxoid (TT) as a model Ag was entrapped in nonionic liposomes. The effect of the co-administration of Quillaja saponin (QS) as an adjuvant and cross-linked dextran microspheres (CDM) as penetration enhancer on immune responses was also studied. TT or TT + QS loaded liposomes were prepared by dehydration-rehydration method (DRV), followed by the extrusion through 400 nm filters. Some formulations were mixed with CDM. Liposomes were first characterized for their size range, mean diameter and morphology using particle size analyzer, optical and transmission electron microscopes. The volume mean diameter of liposomes was determined as 3836 ± 179 and 624 ± 114 nm before and after the extrusion, respectively. Structural efficiency of TT extracted from liposomes was confirmed by SDS-PAGE method. Encapsulation efficiencies of TT and QS were 44 ± 8.50% and 60 ± 6.02%, respectively. Rabbits were nasally immunized with various formulations and serum IgG titers and nasal lavage sIgA titers were determined by an ELISA method. TT + QS liposomes induced higher sIgA levels in comparison with TT liposomes (p < 0.05), but the difference in serum IgG levels was not significant. Results indicated that neutral liposomes administered nasally, have a good potential for induction of mucosal immunity and co-encapsulation of QS and TT in liposomes improved the systemic and mucosal immune responses.
Nasal immunization; Tetanus toxoid; Quillaja saponin; Liposomes; Cross-linked; Dextran microspheres
We have previously shown that a hexavalent group A streptococcal M protein-based vaccine evoked bactericidal antibodies after intramuscular injection. In the present study, we show that the hexavalent vaccine formulated with several different mucosal adjuvants and delivered intranasally induced serum and salivary antibodies that protected mice from intranasal challenge infections with virulent group A streptococci. The hexavalent vaccine was formulated with liposomes with or without monophosphorylated lipid A (MPL), cholera toxin B subunit with or without holotoxin, or proteosomes from Neisseria meningitidis outer membrane proteins complexed with lipopolysaccharide from Shigella flexneri. Intranasal immunization with the hexavalent vaccine mixed with these adjuvants resulted in significant levels of antibodies in serum 2 weeks after the final dose. Mean serum antibody titers were equivalent in all groups of mice except those that were immunized with hexavalent protein plus liposomes without MPL, which were significantly lower. Salivary antibodies were also detected in mice that received the vaccine formulated with the four strongest adjuvants. T-cell proliferative assays and cytokine assays using lymphocytes from cervical lymph nodes and spleens from mice immunized with the hexavalent vaccine formulated with proteosomes indicated the presence of hexavalent protein-specific T cells and a Th1-weighted mixed Th1-Th2 cytokine profile. Intranasal immunization with adjuvanted formulations of the hexavalent vaccine resulted in significant levels of protection (80 to 100%) following intranasal challenge infections with type 24 group A streptococci. Our results indicate that intranasal delivery of adjuvanted multivalent M protein vaccines induces protective antibody responses and may provide an alternative to parenteral vaccine formulations.
Recent studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of vaccine delivery to the skin by vaccine-coated microneedles; however there is little information on the effects of adjuvants using this approach for vaccination. Here we investigate the use of TLR ligands as adjuvants with skin-based delivery of influenza subunit vaccine. BALB/c mice received 1 µg of monovalent H1N1 subunit vaccine alone or with 1 µg of imiquimod or poly(I:C) individually or in combination via coated microneedle patches inserted into the skin. Poly(I:C) adjuvanted subunit influenza vaccine induced similar antigen-specific immune responses compared to vaccine alone when delivered to the skin by microneedles. However, imiquimod-adjuvanted vaccine elicited higher levels of serum IgG2a antibodies and increased hemagglutination inhibition titers compared to vaccine alone, suggesting enhanced induction of functional antibodies. In addition, imiquimod-adjuvanted vaccine induced a robust IFN-γ cellular response. These responses correlated with improved protection compared to influenza subunit vaccine alone, as well as reduced viral replication and production of pro-inflammatory cytokines in the lungs. The finding that microneedle delivery of imiquimod with influenza subunit vaccine induces improved immune responses compared to vaccine alone supports the use of TLR7 ligands as adjuvants for skin-based influenza vaccines.
The response of ferrets after intranasal inoculation of inactivated A/Hong Kong/68 (H3N2) influenza virus vaccines is reported. Normal ferrets given either saline vaccine in drops or freeze-dried vaccine in an aerosol intranasally did not produce detectable serum or nasal hemagglutination inhibiting antibody and were found to be completely susceptible to challenge infection with A/Hong Kong/68 virus. Intranasal saline vaccine did not produce an additive effect on the response of ferrets simultaneously given the same vaccine intramuscularly with adjuvant. Ferrets primed by previous infection with A/PR/8/34 (H0N1) influenza virus, however, responded to intranasal immunization with saline A/Hong Kong/68 virus vaccine and produced serum and nasal antibody. These animals were found to be partially resistant to challenge infection, in contrast to similar animals given saline vaccine intramuscularly which were completely resistant to challenge infection. Primed ferrets did not respond after immunization with the freeze-dried aerosol vaccine, but this may have been due to a failure of the aerosol to be inhaled satisfactorily.
The recent outbreaks of influenza A H5N1 virus in birds and humans have necessitated the development of potent H5N1 vaccines. In this study, we evaluated the protective potential of an immediate-early promoter-based baculovirus displaying hemagglutinin (BacHA) against highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 virus infection in a mouse model. Gastrointestinal delivery of BacHA significantly enhanced the systemic immune response in terms of HA-specific serum IgG and hemagglutination inhibition (HI) titers. In addition, BacHA vaccine was able to significantly enhance the mucosal IgA level. The inclusion of recombinant cholera toxin B subunit as a mucosal adjuvant along with BacHA vaccine did not influence either the systemic or mucosal immunity. Interestingly, an inactivated form of BacHA was able to induce only a negligible level of immune responses compared to its live counterpart. Microneutralization assay also indicated that live BacHA vaccine was able to induce strong cross-clade neutralization against heterologous H5N1 strains (clade 1.0, clade 2.1, and clade 8.0) compared to the inactivated BacHA. Viral challenge studies showed that live BacHA was able to provide 100% protection against 5 50% mouse lethal doses (MLD50) of homologous (clade 2.1) and heterologous (clade 1) H5N1. Moreover, histopathological examinations revealed that mice vaccinated with live BacHA had only minimal bronchitis in lungs and regained their body weight more rapidly postchallenge. Furthermore, immunohistochemistry results demonstrated that the live BacHA was able to transduce and express HA in the intestinal epithelial cells in vitro and in vivo. We have demonstrated that recombinant baculovirus with a white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) immediate-early promoter 1 (ie1) acted as a vector as well as a protein vaccine and will enable the rapid production of prepandemic and pandemic vaccines without any biosafety concerns.
Epidemic influenza occurs annually throughout the world and is accompanied by excess morbidity and mortality. Increasing the antigen content and topical administration of vaccine are two strategies being explored to improve the immune responses to trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine (TIV). We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to compare the immunogenicity and reactogenicity of intramuscular (IM), intranasal (IN), or combined IM and IN administration of a contemporary U.S. vaccine formulation at escalating dosage levels in young healthy adults. 243 healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 45 years received 15, 30, or 60 mcg of trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine by either IN, IM or both routes, 120 mcg of vaccine IM, or placebo IN and IM. All dosages and routes of vaccine administration were well-tolerated. A bad taste and mild nasal discomfort were more likely to be reported when influenza vaccine was administered IN, while arm tenderness was more common after IM administration. Significant increases in geometric mean serum antibody titers in both HAI and Nt assays were seen in all of the groups receiving influenza vaccine for all test antigens (P≤.025, paired t-test), except for the B HAI antibody titer in the group that received 30 mcg IN (P=.055, paired t-test). Postvaccination geometric mean serum antibody titers, the frequency of seroresponses, and the percentage achieving postvaccination serum HAI antibody titers of ≥32 were higher following delivery of the study vaccines by an IM route than by the IN route, but significant increases in serum antibody were seen after IN vaccination. Nasal IgA antibody responses were more common when vaccine was administered IN; and, when the IN dosage was increased, the primary benefit from IN vaccine over IM vaccine appeared to be greater induction of nasal secretory antibody.
Immunization of mice by the intranasal route with influenza virus hemagglutinin in combination with the mutant Escherichia coli heat-labile enterotoxin R72 (LT-R72) induced significantly enhanced serum and mucosal antibodies, surpassing, in most cases, responses achieved by traditional intramuscular immunization using inactivated split influenza vaccine. Furthermore, intranasal immunization with LT-R72 induced a potent serum immunoglobulin G2a response, indicating that this adjuvant has Th1 character.
To identify an adjuvant that enhances antibody responses in respiratory secretions to inactivated influenza virus vaccine (IVV), a comparison was made of responses to intranasal vaccinations of mice with IVV containing monophosphoryl lipid A (MPL), type I interferon (IFN) or cholera toxin B (CTB). Antibody in nasal secretions and lung wash fluids from mice was increased after vaccination and lung virus was significantly reduced after challenge to a similar level in each adjuvant group. Interferon was selected for a trial in humans. Trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine was given intranasally to healthy adult volunteers alone or with one million units (Mu) or 10 Mu of alpha interferon. Vaccinations were well tolerated but neither serum hemagglutination-inhibiting nor neutralizing antibody responses among the vaccine groups were significantly different. Similarly, neither neutralizing nor IgA antibody responses in nasal secretions were significantly different. Thus, despite exhibiting a significant adjuvant effect in mice, interferon did not exhibit an adjuvant effect for induction of antibody in respiratory secretions of humans to inactivated influenza virus vaccine given intranasally.
Inactivated influenza vaccine; mucosal antibody; adjuvants; interferon; mice and humans
Lactococcus lactis is a nonpathogenic and noncolonizing bacterium which is being developed as a vaccine delivery vehicle for immunization by mucosal routes. To determine whether lactococci can also deliver cytokines to the immune system, we have constructed novel constitutive expression strains of L. lactis which accumulate a test antigen, tetanus toxin fragment C (TTFC), within the cytoplasmic compartment and also secrete either murine interleukin-2 (IL-2) or IL-6. When mice were immunized intranasally with various different expression strains of L. lactis, the anti-TTFC antibody titers increased more rapidly and were substantially higher in mice immunized with the bacterial strains which secreted IL-2 or IL-6 in addition to their production of TTFC. This adjuvant effect was lost when the recombinant strains of L. lactis were killed by pretreatment with mitomycin C and could therefore be attributed to the secretion of IL-2 or IL-6 by the recombinant lactococci. These results provide the first example of the use of a cytokine-secreting, noninvasive experimental bacterial vaccine vector to enhance immune responses to a coexpressed heterologous antigen and point the way to experiments which will test the possible therapeutic efficacy of this mode of cytokine delivery.
Norwalk virus (NV) is an enteric pathogen from the genus Norovirus and a major cause of nonbacterial gastroenteritis in humans. NV virus-like particles (VLPs) are known to elicit systemic and mucosal immune responses when delivered nasally; however, the correlates of immune protection are unknown, and codelivery with a safe and immunogenic mucosal adjuvant may enhance protective anti-NV immune responses. Resiquimod (R848), an imidazoquinoline-based Toll-like receptor 7 and/or 8 (TLR7/8) agonist, is being evaluated as an adjuvant in FDA-approved clinical vaccine trials. As such, we evaluated the adjuvant activity of two imidazoquinoline-based TLR7 and TLR7/8 agonists when codelivered intranasally with plant-derived NV VLPs. We also compared the activity of these agonists to the gold standard mucosal adjuvant, cholera toxin (CT). Our results indicate that codelivery with the TLR7 agonist, gardiquimod (GARD), induces NV VLP-specific serum IgG and IgG isotype responses and mucosal IgA responses in the gastrointestinal, respiratory, and reproductive tracts that are superior to those induced by R848 and comparable to those induced by the mucosal adjuvant CT. This study supports the continued investigation of GARD as a mucosal adjuvant for NV VLPs and possible use for other VLP-based vaccines for which immune responses at distal mucosal sites (e.g., respiratory and reproductive tracts) are desired.
Nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHI) is a major pathogen of otitis media. One of the outer membrane proteins of NTHI, P6, is an antigen common to all strains and is considered as a candidate for mucosal vaccine. To elucidate the possibility of developing a nasal vaccine against nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHI) and to investigate mucosal immune responses in the middle ear, mice were immunized intranasally with the P6 outer membrane protein of NTHI, and P6-specific immune responses in the middle ear mucosa were examined. Mice were given with P6 and cholera toxin intranasally as an adjuvant on days 0, 7, and 14 and were killed on day 21. The P6-specific immunoglobulin A (IgA) antibody titer in ear wash was significantly elevated. Mononuclear cells were isolated from middle ear mucosa, and an increase in P6-specific IgA-producing cells was shown with an enzyme-linked immunospot assay. In addition, an increase in memory T cells in middle ear mucosa was detected with flow cytometric analysis after intranasal immunization. Moreover, in vitro stimulation with P6 resulted in proliferation of purified CD4+ T cells from immunized mice, and these T cells expressed Th2 cytokine mRNA. These results indicate that P6-specific IgA–B-cell immune responses and selected Th2 cytokine expressing Th cells were induced in middle ear mucosa by intranasal immunization. These findings suggest that a nasal vaccine is useful for preventing otitis media with effusion.
Most vaccines are still given parenterally. Mucosal vaccination would offer different advantages over parenteral immunization, including blocking of the pathogens at the portal of entry. In this paper, nontoxic Escherichia coli heat-labile enterotoxin (LT) mutants and Supramolecular Biovector systems (SMBV) were evaluated in mice as mucosal adjuvants and delivery systems, respectively, for intranasal immunization with the conjugated group C meningococcal vaccine. The conjugated vaccine formulated together with the LT mutants and the SMBV induced very high titers of serum and mucosal antibodies specific for the group C meningococcal polysaccharide. This vaccination strategy also induced high titers of antibodies with bactericidal activity, which is known to correlate with efficacy. Importantly, the mucosal vaccination, but not the conventional parenteral vaccination, induced bactericidal antibodies at the mucosal level. These data strongly support the feasibility of development of intranasal vaccines with an enhanced protective efficacy against meningococci and possibly against other encapsulated bacteria.