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Vaccine. 2005 May 31;23(29):3800-7. Epub 2005 Mar 16.

Low-frequency ultrasound as a transcutaneous immunization adjuvant.

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Department of Chemical Engineering, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA.


Percutaneous vaccine delivery offers an advantageous mode of immunization due to the unique ability of cutaneous immune cells, especially Langerhans cells, to present antigens to the immune system. Langerhans cells, upon activation, migrate to the regional lymph nodes and lead to the generation of systemic and mucosal immune responses. However, simple topical application of vaccines does not deliver sufficient amounts of antigen in the skin to generate an adequate immune response. Co-administration of strong adjuvants such as cholera toxin or invasive skin abrasion is usually necessary to induce an adequate immune response by topical vaccine application. Here, we report on the use of low-frequency ultrasound as a potent physical adjuvant for successful transcutaneous immunization (TCI). Using tetanus toxoid as a model vaccine, we show that low-frequency ultrasound enhances the immune response induced by topical application of tetanus toxoid. The adjuvant effect of ultrasound is partly explained by the enhanced delivery of tetanus toxoid into the skin after ultrasound application and partly by the activation of immune cells after ultrasonic TCI. These studies demonstrate generation of a potent systemic immune response through TCI without using toxin adjuvants or skin abrasion. Ultrasonic TCI offers a needle-free and painless mode of immunization.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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