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Biomaterials. 2012 Jun;33(16):4229-39. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2012.02.036. Epub 2012 Mar 10.

Comparison of antibodies and carbohydrates to target vaccines to human dendritic cells via DC-SIGN.

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Department of Tumor Immunology, Nijmegen Centre for Molecular Life Sciences, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Geert Grooteplein 28, 6525 GA, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


Vaccine efficacy is improved upon specific delivery to professional antigen (Ag) presenting cells, such as dendritic cells (DCs). Antigenicity and adjuvanticity of vaccine components can be enhanced by encapsulation within nanoparticle (NP) vaccine carriers that are targeted to the human DC-specific C-type lectin receptor DC-SIGN. Here we used two strategies to target vaccines components to DC-SIGN: 1) carbohydrates as natural receptor ligands and 2) receptor-specific antibodies (Abs). To determine the optimal targeting strategy, we coated NP vaccines harboring MHC class I or II-restricted Ags and the TLR ligands (TLRLs) poly I:C and resiquimod with either the DC-SIGN ligands Lewis-X (Le(x)), mannosylated lipoarabinomannan (ManLAM), glycosylated HIV protein gp120, or three distinct DC-SIGN Abs. Although, because of their lower MW, surface coating of NP vaccines with carbohydrates resulted in a higher number of surface molecules per NP than coating with Abs, NP vaccines carrying Abs were more effectively bound and internalized by human DCs than carriers harboring Le(x), ManLAM or gp120. Furthermore, NP vaccines harboring TLRLs triggered significant induction of DC maturation markers when compared to those without TLRLs, irrespective of the targeting moiety. Ab- and gp120-mediated targeting induced equally high levels of proinflammatory cytokines and increased presentation of the MHC class I-restricted epitope. By contrast, presentation of the MHC class II-restricted epitope was more efficient upon Ab-mediated targeting than when using gp120, Le(x) or ManLAM. From these findings we conclude that receptor-specific Abs are more effective than carbohydrates for DC-targeted vaccination strategies.

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