In vitro studies using dendritic cells have identified that microencapsulated antigens are taken up and processed differently as compared with soluble proteins, and these findings have been reviewed. Similarly, in vivo, it is evident that microencapsulated materials have different properties in terms of uptake and trafficking. Intranasal (IN) instillation of encapsulated protective antigen resulted in a significant increase in the percentage of activated CD4+ and B-cells in the spleens of immunised mice, whereas IN instillation of soluble antigen failed to do so. This corroborates earlier findings concerning the uptake and trafficking of microparticles following bronchopulmonary administration. These data support the tenet that microencapsulation serves to modify the uptake, trafficking and processing of antigens.