Research ArticleIMMUNOLOGY

Immunomodulatory nanogels overcome restricted immunity in a murine model of gut microbiome–mediated metabolic syndrome

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Science Advances  27 Mar 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 3, eaav9788
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aav9788


Biomaterials-based nanovaccines, such as those made of poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA), can induce stronger immunity than soluble antigens in healthy wild-type mouse models. However, whether metabolic syndrome can influence the immunological responses of nanovaccines remains poorly understood. Here, we first show that alteration in the sensing of the gut microbiome through Toll-like receptor 5 (TLR5) and the resulting metabolic syndrome in TLR5−/− mice diminish the germinal center immune response induced by PLGA nanovaccines. The PLGA nanovaccines, unexpectedly, further changed gut microbiota. By chronically treating mice with antibiotics, we show that disrupting gut microbiome leads to poor vaccine response in an obesity-independent manner. We next demonstrate that the low immune response can be rescued by an immunomodulatory Pyr-pHEMA nanogel vaccine, which functions through TLR2 stimulation, enhanced trafficking, and induced stronger germinal center response than alum-supplemented PLGA nanovaccines. The study highlights the potential for immunomodulation under gut-mediated metabolic syndrome conditions using advanced nanomaterials.

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