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J Immunol. 2008 Feb 1;180(3):1482-9.

Transcutaneous anti-influenza vaccination promotes both CD4 and CD8 T cell immune responses in humans.

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Clinical Research Center for Hair and Skin Physiology, Department of Dermatology and Allergy, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Charitéplatz 1, Berlin, Germany.


Induction of T cell responses has become one of the major goals in therapeutic vaccination against viral diseases and cancer. The use of the skin as target organ for vaccine has been spurred by recent implication of epithelial dendritic cells in CD8 cell cross-priming and suggests that vaccination via the transcutaneous (TC) route may be relevant in the induction of cellular immune responses. We have previously shown that TC application of nanoparticles, on human skin explants, allows targeting of epidermal dendritic cells, possibly via hair follicles. In this study, we have investigated cellular immune responses against an influenza protein-based vaccine by TC vaccination, compared with i.m. vaccination in humans. In this study on 11 healthy volunteers, we found that a newly developed protocol based on cyanoacrylate skin surface stripping induced a significant increase in IFN-gamma-producing T cells specific for influenza vaccine by ELISPOT assays. Interestingly, TC vaccination induced both effector CD4 and CD8 T cell responses, whereas i.m. injection induced strong effector CD4 in the absence of CD8 T cells, as assessed by intracellular cytokine staining and tetramer analyses. This study proposes new perspectives for the development of vaccination strategies that trigger T cell immune responses in humans.

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