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Enhanced Immune Adjuvant Activity of Aluminum Oxyhydroxide Nanorods through Cationic Surface Functionalization

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journal contribution
posted on 07.06.2017, 00:00 by Bingbing Sun, Zhaoxia Ji, Yu-Pei Liao, Chong Hyun Chang, Xiang Wang, Justine Ku, Changying Xue, Vahid Mirshafiee, Tian Xia
Aluminum-salt-based vaccine adjuvants are prevailingly used in FDA-approved vaccines for the prevention of infectious diseases for over eighty years. Despite their safe applications, the mechanisms regarding how the material characteristics affect the interactions at nano–bio interface and immunogenicity remain unclear. Recently, studies have indicated that the activation of NLRP3 inflammasome plays a critical role in inducing adjuvant effects that are controlled by the inherent shape and hydroxyl contents of aluminum oxyhydroxide (AlOOH) nanoparticles; however, the detailed relationship between surface properties and adjuvant effects for these materials remains unknown. Thus, we engineered AlOOH nanorods (ALNRs) with controlled surface functionalization and charge to assess their effects on the activation of NLRP3 inflammasome in vitro and the potentiation of immunogenicity in vivo. It is demonstrated that NH2-functionalized ALNRs exhibited higher levels of cellular uptake, lysosomal damage, oxidative stress, and NLRP3 inflammasome activation than pristine and SO3H-functionalized ALNRs in cells. This structure–activity relationship also correlates with the adjuvant activity of the material using ovalbumin (OVA) in a mouse vaccination model. This study demonstrates that surface functionalization of ALNRs is critical for rational design of aluminum-based adjuvants to boost antigen-specific immune responses for more effective and long-lasting vaccination.