PLoS One 2010 Jun 8;5(6):e11021. Epub 2010 Jun 8.
PowderMed Ltd., Oxford, UK.
Background: The recent H5N1 avian and H1N1 swine-origin influenza virus outbreaks reaffirm that the threat of a world-wide influenza pandemic is both real and ever-present. Vaccination is still considered the best strategy for protection against influenza virus infection but a significant challenge is to identify new vaccine approaches that offer accelerated production, broader protection against drifted and shifted strains, and the capacity to elicit anti-viral immune responses in the respiratory tract at the site of viral entry. As a safe alternative to live attenuated vaccines, the mucosal and systemic immunogenicity of an H1N1 influenza (A/New Caledonia/20/99) HA DNA vaccine administered by particle-mediated epidermal delivery (PMED or gene gun) was analyzed in rhesus macaques.
Methodology/principal Findings: Macaques were immunized at weeks 0, 8, and 16 using a disposable single-shot particle-mediated delivery device designed for clinical use that delivers plasmid DNA directly into cells of the epidermis. Significant levels of hemagglutination inhibiting (HI) antibodies and cytokine-secreting HA-specific T cells were observed in the periphery of macaques following 1-3 doses of the PMED HA DNA vaccine. In addition, HA DNA vaccination induced detectable levels of HA-specific mucosal antibodies and T cells in the lung and gut-associated lymphoid tissues of vaccinated macaques. Importantly, co-delivery of a DNA encoding the rhesus macaque GM-CSF gene was found to significantly enhance both the systemic and mucosal immunogenicity of the HA DNA vaccine.
Conclusions/significance: These results provide strong support for the development of a particle-mediated epidermal DNA vaccine for protection against respiratory pathogens such as influenza and demonstrate, for the first time, the ability of skin-delivered GM-CSF to serve as an effective mucosal adjuvant for vaccine induction of immune responses in the gut and respiratory tract.