Aerosolized PLA and PLGA nanoparticles enhance humoral, mucosal and cytokine responses to hepatitis B vaccine

Chandan Thomas, Amit Rawat, Louisa Hope-Weeks, Fakhrul Ahsan

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125 Scopus citations


Porous poly(l-lactic acid) (PLA) and poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) nanoparticles were tested for pulmonary delivery of hepatitis B vaccine. In particular, the effects of particle size and hydrophobicity on mucosal and cell-mediated immune responses were investigated. Three formulations of PLA and PLGA nanoparticles containing a fixed amount of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) were prepared by a double-emulsion-solvent-evaporation method and characterized for surface morphology, charge, size, density and in vitro release. The immune responses were studied by measuring secretory IgA levels in mucosal fluids and quantitating cytokine levels in rat spleen homogenates. Particle uptake was studied in rat alveolar macrophages. Scanning electron microscopy revealed particles with smooth surfaces. Zeta potential measurements indicated that the particles carried negative surface charges. The antigen was continuously released for 42 days in phosphate buffer. Hydrophobic particles >500 nm elicited a more robust increase in secretary IgA, interleukin-2 and interferon-γ levels compared to hydrophilic particles <500 nm. Large hydrophobic particles were more efficiently internalized by rat alveolar macrophages compared to smaller hydrophilic particles. Calu-3 cell viability studies indicate that the viability of cells is not affected by nanoparticulate formulations. This study demonstrates that inhalable nanoparticles of HBsAg produce an enhancement of immune responses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-415
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Pharmaceutics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 4 2011


  • hepatitis B surface antigen
  • microspheres
  • mucosal delivery
  • poly(D,L-lactic-co-glycolic acid)
  • pulmonary drug delivery
  • vaccine delivery


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