Electroporation as a vaccine delivery system and a natural adjuvant to intradermal administration of plasmid DNA in macaques

Sci Rep. 2017 Jun 23;7(1):4122. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-04547-2.


In vivo electroporation (EP) is used to enhance the uptake of nucleic acids and its association with DNA vaccination greatly stimulates immune responses to vaccine antigens delivered through the skin. However, the effect of EP on cutaneous cell behavior, the dynamics of immune cell recruitment and local inflammatory factors, have not been fully described. Here, we show that intradermal DNA vaccination combined with EP extends antigen expression to the epidermis and the subcutaneous skin muscle in non-human primates. In vivo fibered confocal microscopy and dynamic ex vivo imaging revealed that EP promotes the mobility of Langerhans cells (LC) and their interactions with transfected cells prior to their migration from the epidermis. At the peak of vaccine expression, we detected antigen in damaged keratinocyte areas in the epidermis and we characterized recruited immune cells in the skin, the hypodermis and the subcutaneous muscle. EP alone was sufficient to induce the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines in the skin and significantly increased local concentrations of Transforming Growth Factor (TGF)-alpha and IL-12. Our results show the kinetics of inflammatory processes in response to EP of the skin, and reveal its potential as a vaccine adjuvant.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic*
  • Animals
  • Antigen-Presenting Cells / immunology
  • Antigen-Presenting Cells / metabolism
  • Antigens / genetics
  • Antigens / immunology
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Electroporation*
  • Epidermis / immunology
  • Epidermis / metabolism
  • Gene Expression
  • Immunization* / methods
  • Inflammation / genetics
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Inflammation Mediators / metabolism
  • Injections, Intradermal
  • Keratinocytes / immunology
  • Keratinocytes / metabolism
  • Langerhans Cells / immunology
  • Langerhans Cells / metabolism
  • Macaca
  • Plasmids / administration & dosage*
  • Plasmids / genetics
  • Vaccination / methods
  • Vaccines, DNA / administration & dosage*
  • Vaccines, DNA / genetics
  • Vaccines, DNA / immunology*


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Antigens
  • Cytokines
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Vaccines, DNA