Immuno-potentiating activity of surfactant vesicles in DNA and subunit vaccination
Enhanced immune responses for DNA and subunit vaccines potentiated by surfactant vesicle based delivery systems outlined in the present study, provides proof of principle for the beneficial aspects of vesicle mediated vaccination. The dehydration-rehydration technique was used to entrap plasmid DNA or subunit antigens into lipid-based (liposomes) or non-ionic surfactant-based (niosomes) dehydration-rehydration vesicles (DRV). Using this procedure, it was shown that both these types of antigens can be effectively entrapped in DRV liposomes and DRV niosomes. The vesicle size of DRV niosomes was shown to be twice the diameter (~2µm) of that of their liposome counterparts. Incorporation of cryoprotectants such as sucrose in the DRV procedure resulted in reduced vesicle sizes while retaining high DNA incorporation efficiency (~95%). Transfection studies in COS 7 cells demonstrated that the choice of cationic lipid, the helper lipid, and the method of preparation, all influenced transfection efficiency indicating a strong interdependency of these factors. This phenomenon has been further reinforced when 1,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamine (DOPE): cholesteryl 3b- [N-(N’ ,N’ -dimethylaminoethane)-carbamoyl] cholesterol (DC-Chol)/DNA complexes were supplemented with non-ionic surfactants. Morphological analysis of these complexes using transmission electron microscopy and environmental scanning electron microscopy (ESEM) revealed the presence of heterogeneous structures which may be essential for an efficient transfection in addition to the fusogenic properties of DOPE. In vivo evaluation of these DNA incorporated vesicle systems in BALB/c mice showed weak antibody and cell-mediated immune (CMI) responses. Subsequent mock challenge with hepatitis B antigen demonstrated that, 1-monopalmitoyl glycerol (MP) based DRV, is a more promising DNA vaccine adjuvant. Studying these DRV systems as adjuvants for the Hepatitis B subunit antigen (HBsAg) revealed a balanced antibody/CMI response profile on the basis of the HBsAg specific antibody and cytokine responses which were higher than unadjuvated antigen. The effect of addition of MP, cholesterol and trehalose 6,6’-dibehenate (TDB) on the stability and immuno-efficacy of dimethyldioctadecylammonium bromide (DDA) vesicles was investigated. Differential scanning calorimetry showed a reduction in transition temperature of DDA vesicles by ~12°C when incorporated with surfactants. ESEM of MP based DRV system indicated an increased vesicle stability upon incorporation of antigen. Adjuvant activity of these systems tested in C57BL/6j mice against three subunit antigens i.e., mycobacterial fusion protein- Ag85B-ESAT-6, and two malarial antigens - merozoite surface protein-1, (MSP1), and glutamate rich protein, (GLURP) revealed that while MP and DDA based systems induced comparable antibody responses, DDA based systems induced powerful CMI responses.