Manipulating the antigen-specific immune response by the hydrophobicity of amphiphilic poly(γ-glutamic acid) nanoparticles
The new generation vaccines are safe but poorly immunogenic, and thus they require the use of adjuvants. However, conventional vaccine adjuvants fail to induce potent cellular immunity, and their toxicity and side-effects hinder the clinical use. Therefore, a vaccine adjuvant which is safe and can induce an antigen-specific cellular immunity-biased immune response is urgently required. In the development of nanoparticle-based vaccine adjuvants, the hydrophobicity is one of the most important factors. It could control the interaction between the encapsulated antigens and/or nanoparticles with immune cells. In this study, nanoparticles (NPs) composed of amphiphilic poly(γ-glutamic acid)-graft-l-phenylalanine ethyl ester (γ-PGA-Phe) with various grafting degrees of hydrophobic side chains were prepared to evaluate the effect of hydrophobicity of vaccine carriers on the antigen encapsulation behavior, cellular uptake, activation of dendritic cells (DCs), and induction of antigen-specific cellular immunity-biased immune responses. These NPs could efficiently encapsulate antigens, and the uptake amount of the encapsulated antigen by DCs was dependent on the hydrophobicity of γ-PGA-Phe NPs. Moreover, the activation potential of the DCs and the induction of antigen-specific cellular immunity were correlated with the hydrophobicity of γ-PGA-Phe NPs. By controlling the hydrophobicity of antigen-encapsulated γ-PGA-Phe NPs, the activation potential of DCs was able to manipulate about 5 to 30-hold than the conventional vaccine, and the cellular immunity was about 10 to 40-hold. These results suggest that the hydrophobicity of NPs is a key factor for changing the interaction between NPs and immune cells, and thus the induction of cellular immunity-biased immune response could be achieved by controlling the hydrophobicity of them.
Journal: Biomaterials - Volume 34, Issue 37, December 2013, Pages 9709–9716