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Vaccine. 2015 Aug 26;33(36):4406-13. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2015.07.022. Epub 2015 Jul 18.

Mucosal vaccination by the intranasal route. Nose-associated lymphoid tissue (NALT)-Structure, function and species differences.

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Institute of Immunomorphology Centre of Anatomy Medical School, Hannover, Germany. Electronic address:


The advantage of mucosal vaccination in viral and bacterial infections in different age groups is of enormous clinical relevance. The advantages and potential hazards of intranasal vaccination have always to be considered. The intranasal route for vaccination is very successful for some antigens. Specific adjuvants are necessary. In the nose of rodents there is a structured lymphoid tissue (nose-associated lymphoid tissue (NALT)). This abbreviation should not be used for nasopharynx-associated lymphoid tissue, as this includes parts of the tonsils. In children lymphoid tissue is more dispersed in the nose and not concentrated at the bottom of the dorsal nose ducts as in rodents. There are no data on organized lymphoid tissue in the nose of adults. In NALT of rodents there is a unique structure of adhesion molecule expression; the postnatal development and the different composition of T and B lymphocytes in comparison with Peyer's patches document the uniqueness of this lymphoid organ. There is also a mucosa in the nose with antigen-presenting dendritic cells. Thus, it is often unclear whether intranasal vaccination is initiated via NALT or the diffuse nasal mucosa. There are still many open questions e. g., which adjuvant is necessary for a specific virus, bacterium or other allergen, how many doses are critical for an effective nasal vaccination. Species differences are of major importance when extrapolating results from rodents to humans.


Intranasal vaccination; Nasal mucosa; Nose-associated lymphoid tissue (NALT); Species differences

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