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Nat Med. 2012 Aug;18(8):1291-6. doi: 10.1038/nm.2866. Epub 2012 Jul 15.

Large intestine-targeted, nanoparticle-releasing oral vaccine to control genitorectal viral infection.

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Vaccine Branch, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, US National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA; Department of Oncology, Air Force General Hospital, Beijing, China.


Both rectal and vaginal mucosal surfaces serve as transmission routes for pathogenic microorganisms. Vaccination through large intestinal mucosa, previously proven protective for both of these mucosal sites in animal studies, can be achieved successfully by direct intracolorectal (i.c.r.) administration, but this route is clinically impractical. Oral vaccine delivery seems preferable but runs the risk of the vaccine's destruction in the upper gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, we designed a large intestine-targeted oral delivery with pH-dependent microparticles containing vaccine nanoparticles, which induced colorectal immunity in mice comparably to colorectal vaccination and protected against rectal and vaginal viral challenge. Conversely, vaccine targeted to the small intestine induced only small intestinal immunity and provided no rectal or vaginal protection, demonstrating functional compartmentalization within the gut mucosal immune system. Therefore, using this oral vaccine delivery system to target the large intestine, but not the small intestine, may represent a feasible new strategy for immune protection of rectal and vaginal mucosa.

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