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Nanotechnology. 2010 May 14;21(19):195101. doi: 10.1088/0957-4484/21/19/195101. Epub 2010 Apr 19.

Assessment of gold nanoparticles as a size-dependent vaccine carrier for enhancing the antibody response against synthetic foot-and-mouth disease virus peptide.

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Department of Materials Science and Engineering, National Chiao Tung University, 1001 University Road, EE137, Hsinchu 300, Taiwan, Republic of China.


To assess the ability of gold nanoparticles (GNPs) to act as a size-dependent carrier, a synthetic peptide resembling foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) protein was conjugated to GNPs ranging from 2 to 50 nm in diameter (2, 5, 8, 12, 17, 37, and 50 nm). An extra cysteine was added to the C-terminus of the FMDV peptide (pFMDV) to ensure maximal conjugation to the GNPs, which have a high affinity for sulfhydryl groups. The resultant pFMDV-GNP conjugates were then injected into BALB/c mice. Immunization with pFMDV-keyhole limpet hemocyanin (pFMDV-KLH) conjugate was also performed as a control. Blood was obtained from the mice after 4, 6, 8, and 10 weeks and antibody titers against both pFMDV and the carriers were measured. For the pFMDV-GNP immunization, specific antibodies against the synthetic peptide were detected in the sera of mice injected with 2, 5, 8, 12, and 17 nm pFMDV-GNP conjugates. Maximal antibody binding was noted for GNPs of diameter 8-17 nm. The pFMDV-GNPs induced a three-fold increase in the antibody response compared to the response to pFMDV-KLH. However, sera from either immunized mouse group did not exhibit an antibody response to GNPs, while the sera from pFMDV-KLH-immunized mice presented high levels of binding activity against KLH. Additionally, the uptake of pFMDV-GNP in the spleen was examined by inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy (ICP-MS) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The quantity of GNPs that accumulated in the spleen correlated to the magnitude of the immune response induced by pFMDV-GNP. In conclusion, we demonstrated the size-dependent immunogenic properties of pFMDV-GNP conjugates. Furthermore, we established that GNPs ranging from 8 to 17 nm in diameter may be ideal for eliciting a focused antibody response against a synthetic pFMDV peptide.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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