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Amino-Modified Polymer Nanoparticles as Adjuvants to Activate the Complement System and to Improve Vaccine Efficacy in Vivo

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journal contribution
posted on 2019-08-28, 16:39 authored by Yong Pan, Yanxin Qi, Nannan Shao, Abegail C. Tadle, Yubin Huang
Subunit vaccines are safer but often poorly immunogenic in comparison to traditional vaccines, and thus, adjuvants and delivery vehicles are needed to enhance the immune response. The complement system is a part of the innate immune system, which plays an important role in innate and adaptive immunity. Therefore, the activation of the complement system could be utilized as a potential strategy for vaccine applications. Herein, cysteamine hydrochloride was grafted onto a methoxy poly­(ethylene glycol)-block-poly (allyl glycidyl ether)-block-poly­(ε-caprolactone) copolymer to synthesize a triblock polymer mPEG5k-PAGE15­(NH2)-PCL5k(TPCAH) with amino groups on the side chain. The positive charge of the amino groups could bind with the negatively charged protein (like ovalbumin (OVA)) to form a stable complex by electrostatic interaction. The triblock copolymer TPCAH we designed can easily self-assemble into polymer nanomicelles, and the size of the nanoparticles is similar to that of the pathogens, which was beneficial to the uptake by lymphocytes. Furthermore, the amino groups modified on the side chain can not only integrate with proteins but also activate the complement system, thereby enhancing the immune response of subunit vaccines. The results showed that the complex TPCAH@OVA could efficiently promote powerful anti-OVA-specific antibody production, enhance CD4+ T- and CD8+ T-cell activation, improve the lymphocyte proliferation efficiency, and increase the secretion of different cytokines. In addition, the abundant amino groups on the surface of TPCAH@OVA could effectively activate the complement system to further enhance adaptive immunity. Overall, these results indicated that the triblock copolymer TPCAH as an adjuvant and carrier can effectively improve the ability of innate and adaptive immune responses to resist pathogens, making it a potential candidate for vaccine applications.