Gingival crevice (GC) increases with age allowing periodontopathic bacteria and its products to enter. We hypothesize that by mimicking this event we can utilize the GC as a potential vaccination route. Here, we used 20 wk-old (young) and 77 wk-old (old) Sprague-Dawley rats. Initially, we elucidated the difference between oral-administration and oral-supplementation in both young and old rats and, subsequently, we determined the optimal component concentration for xanthan gel-encapsulation. Next, through molecular docking, we simulated xanthan gel-encapsulation of a representative antigen (for this study we used influenza H5N1 hemagglutinin) in order to verify that target epitopes were not blocked. Lastly, we compared the antibody titer among gingival-vaccinated rats (old and young) and, likewise, we evaluated the antibody titer produced via the gingival route as compared to other vaccination routes (intradermal, oral, sublingual). Rat blood serum was collected for further downstream analyses. Throughout the study, we were able to establish the following conditions: higher target components enter old rats via oral-supplementation; 100 μg mL(-1) is the optimal component concentration for xanthan gel-encapsulation; and xanthan gel-encapsulation leaves antibody epitopes exposed. More importantly, we observed that gingival-vaccinated old rats have higher antibody titer as compared to young rats and, likewise, we found that antibody titer elicited via gingival vaccination is comparable to other mucosal vaccination routes. Thus, we propose that the GC has the potential to serve as a non-invasive vaccination route.
Keywords: Gel-encapsulation; Gingival crevice; Gingival-vaccination; Xanthan gel.
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