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Vaccine. 2006 May 1;24(18):3990-4006. Epub 2005 Dec 27.

A new intranasal influenza vaccine based on a novel polycationic lipid--ceramide carbamoyl-spermine (CCS) I. Immunogenicity and efficacy studies in mice.

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  • 1The Lautenberg Center for General and Tumor Immunology, The Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, P.O. Box 12272, Jerusalem 91120, Israel.


Although most pathogens use the mucosal routes for invasion, the majority of currently available vaccines are administered parenterally. Injectable vaccines induce good systemic immunity but often unsatisfactory mucosal immunity. A non-injectable mucosal vaccine, which can be self-administered intranasally, may provide both effective systemic and mucosal immunity and can be used for vaccination of large populations within a short period of time in case of a sudden epidemic. Here, we report on a new intranasal (i.n.) influenza vaccine, based on a novel polycationic sphingolipid, N-palmitoyl D-erythro-sphingosyl carbamoyl-spermine (ceramide carbamoyl-spermine = CCS), having combined carrier and adjuvant activities, which elicits, in mice, strong systemic (serum) and local (lung and nasal) humoral and cellular responses, and provides protective immunity. In a comparative study, we show that both unmodified commercial vaccine and vaccine formulated with neutral or anionic liposomes were poorly immunogenic upon i.n. administration. Of five vaccine formulations based on well-established monocationic lipids in the form of unsized liposomes, three (DC-Chol, DDAB, and DSTAP-based) resulted in low serum and local responses, while two others (DMTAP and DOTAP-based vaccines) induced both systemic and local vigorous Th1+Th2 immune responses. However, only the vaccine formulated with CCS was equivalent or superior to the commercial vaccine co-administered with cholera toxin as an adjuvant. Furthermore, the CCS-based influenza vaccine was highly efficacious following a single or a repeated (x2) i.n. or a single i.m. administration, without an added adjuvant, in both young (2 months) and old (18 months) mice. It elicited high titers of strain cross-reactive hemagglutination inhibition (HI) antibodies, and the high antibody titers and protective immunity persisted for at least 9 months. No systemic adverse effects, and only a mild local inflammatory response, were observed in mice and rabbits vaccinated i.n. with the CCS vaccine formulation. A similar approach may prove efficacious for i.n. vaccination against other pathogens.

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