Influence of microbial antigen formulation and delivery route on the immune response
Recent technological advances have resulted in the production of safe subunit and synthetic small peptide vaccines. Unfortunately, these vaccines are weakly or non-immunogenic in the absence of an immunological adjuvant (agents that can induce strong immunity to antigens). In addition, in order to prevent and/or control infection at the mucosal surface, stimulation of the mucosal immune system is essential. This may be achieved via the common mucosal immune system by exposure to antigen at a mucosal surface remote from the area of infection. Initial studies investigated the potential of multiple emulsions in effecting oral absorption and the subsequent immune responses to a lipopolysaccha-ride vaccine (LPS) after immunisation. Nasal delivery of LPS was carried out in parallel work using either aqueous solution or gel formulations. Tetanus toxoid vaccine in simple solution was delivered to guinea pigs as free antigen or entrapped in DSPC liposomes. In addition, adsorbed tetanus toxoid vaccine was delivered nasally free or in an aerosil gel formulation. This work was extended to investigate guinea pigs immunised by various mucosal routes with a herpes simplex virus subunit vaccine prepared from virus infected cells and delivered in gels, multiple emulsions and liposomes. Comparable serum antibody responses resulted but failed to produce enhanced protection against vaginal challenge when compared to subcutaneous immunisation with alhydrogel adjuvanted vaccine. Thus, immunisation of the mucosal surface by these methods may have been inadequate. These studies were extended in an attempt to protect against HSV genital challenge by construction of an attenuated Salmonella typhimurium HWSH aroA mutant expressing a cloned glycoprotein D-l gene fused to the Es-cherichia coli lac z promoter. Preliminary work on the colonisation of guinea pigs with S. typhimurium HWSH arok mutants were carried out, with the aim of using the guinea pig HSV vaginal model to investigate protection.