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Biomaterials. 2013 Jun;34(17):4339-46. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2013.02.024. Epub 2013 Mar 9.

Tunable T cell immunity towards a protein antigen using polymersomes vs. solid-core nanoparticles.

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Institute of Bioengineering, School of Life Sciences and School of Engineering, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland.


Using poly(propylene sulfide) (PPS) and poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) as components of a nanocarrier platform, we sought to compare immune responses induced by PPS-bl-PEG polymersomes (PSs; watery-core structures, with antigen incorporated within the PSs) and PEG-stabilized PPS nanoparticles (NPs; solid-core structures, with antigen conjugated upon the NP surface). We have previously shown strong CD8(+) T cell responses to antigen conjugated to NPs via a disulfide link, and here we investigated the extent to which antigen incorporated within oxidatively-sensitive PSs could induce CD4(+) or CD8(+) T cell responses. C57BL/6 mice were subcutaneously immunized with free ovalbumin (OVA) as a model antigen, or equivalent doses of OVA-loaded into PSs, conjugated onto NPs, or given as a mixture of the two. Free CpG was used as an adjuvant. Antigen-loaded PSs induced enhanced frequencies of antigen-specific CD4(+) T cells in the spleen, lymph nodes and lungs as compared to the NP formulation, whereas antigen-conjugated NPs induced stronger CD8(+) T cell responses. Co-administration of both PSs and NPs elicited T cell immunity characteristic of the two nanocarriers at the same time, i.e. both strong CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cell responses. These results have important implications for particulate-based vaccine design and highlight the potential of using different antigen-delivery systems for the induction of both T helper and cytotoxic T lymphocyte immune responses.

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