The delivery of bioactive proteins using biodegradable microspheres
In this project, antigen-containing microspheres were produced using a range of biodegradable polymers by single and double emulsion solvent evaporation and spray drying techniques. The proteins used in this study were mainly BSA, tetanus toxoid, F1 and V, Y. pestis subunit vaccines and the cytokine, interferon-gamma. The polymer chosen for use in the vaccine preparation will directly determine the characteristics of the formulation. Full in vitro analysis of the preparations was carried out, including surface hydrophobicity and drug release profiles. The influence of the surfactants employed on microsphere surface hydrophobicity was demonstrated. Preparations produced with polyhydroxybutyrate and poly(DTH carbonate) polymers were also shown to be more hydrophobic than PLA microspheres, which may enhance particle uptake by antigen presenting cells and Peyer's patches. Systematic immunisation with microspheres with a range of properties showed differences in the time course and extent of the immune response generated, which would allow optimisation of the dosing schedule to provide maximal response in a single dose preparation. Both systematic and mucosal responses were induced following oral delivery of microencapsulated tetanus toxoid indicating that the encapsulation of the antigen into a microsphere preparation provides protection in the gut and allows targeting of the mucosal-associated lymphoid tissue. Co-encapsulation of adjuvants for further enhancement of immune response was also carried out and the effect on loading and release pattern assessed. Co-encapsulated F1 and interferon-gamma was administered i.p. and the immune responses compared with singly encapsulated and free subunit antigen.