Research ArticleIMMUNOLOGY

Adjuvant-free nanofiber vaccine induces in situ lung dendritic cell activation and TH17 responses

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Science Advances  07 Aug 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 32, eaba0995
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aba0995


The current paradigm that subunit vaccines require adjuvants to optimally activate innate immunity implies that increased vaccine reactogenicity will invariably be linked to improved immunogenicity. Countering this paradigm, nanoparticulate vaccines have been reported to act as delivery systems for vaccine antigens and induce immunity without the need for exogenous adjuvants or local inflammation; however, the mechanisms underlying the immunogenicity of nanoparticle vaccines are incompletely identified. Here, we show that antigens displayed on self-assembling nanofiber scaffolds and delivered intranasally are presented by CD103+ and CD11b+ lung dendritic cells that up-regulate CD80 and migrate into the draining lymph node (LN). This was accompanied by a nearly exclusive priming and accumulation of antigen-specific TH17 cells occurring independently in both LN and lung. Thus, self-assembling peptide nanofiber vaccines may represent a novel, needle- and adjuvant-free means of eliciting protective immunity against fungal and bacterial infections at skin and mucosal barrier surfaces.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

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