Intradermal vaccination with un-adjuvanted sub-unit vaccines triggers skin innate immunity and confers protective respiratory immunity in domestic swine

Vaccine. 2016 Feb 10;34(7):914-22. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2015.12.058. Epub 2016 Jan 6.


Intradermal (ID) vaccination constitutes a promising approach to induce anti-infectious immunity. This route of immunization has mostly been studied with influenza split-virion vaccines. However, the efficacy of ID vaccination for sub-unit vaccines in relation to underlying skin innate immunity remains to be explored for wider application in humans. Relevant animal models that more closely mimic human skin immunity than the widely used mouse models are therefore necessary. Here, we show in domestic swine, which shares striking anatomic and functional properties with human skin, that a single ID delivery of pseudorabies virus (PRV) glycoproteins without added adjuvant is sufficient to trigger adaptive cellular and humoral immune responses, and to confer protection from a lethal respiratory infection with PRV. Analysis of early events at the skin injection site revealed up-regulation of pro-inflammatory cytokine and chemokine genes, recruitment of neutrophils and monocytes and accumulation of inflammatory DC. We further show that the sustained induction of pro-inflammatory cytokine genes results from the combined effects of skin puncture, liquid injection in the dermis and viral antigens. These data highlight that immune protection against respiratory infection can be induced by ID vaccination with a subunit vaccine and reveal that adjuvant requirements are circumvented by the mechanical and antigenic stress caused by ID injection, which triggers innate immunity and mobilization of inflammatory DC at the immunization site. ID vaccination with sub-unit vaccines may thus represent a safe and efficient solution for protection against respiratory infections in swine and possibly also in humans, given the similarity of skin structure and function in both species.

Keywords: Anti-viral immunity; Dendritic cells; Intradermal vaccination; Monocytes; Swine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing / blood
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood
  • Cytokines
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology
  • Female
  • Immunity, Cellular
  • Immunity, Humoral
  • Immunity, Innate*
  • Injections, Intradermal
  • Pseudorabies / prevention & control*
  • Skin / immunology*
  • Swine
  • Vaccination / methods
  • Vaccines, Subunit / administration & dosage
  • Vaccines, Subunit / immunology
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / immunology*
  • Viral Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Viral Vaccines / immunology


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Cytokines
  • Vaccines, Subunit
  • Viral Envelope Proteins
  • Viral Vaccines
  • pseudorabies virus glycoproteins