Brief exposure of skin to near-infrared (NIR) laser light has been shown to augment the immune response to intradermal vaccination and thus act as an immunologic adjuvant. Although evidence indicates that the NIR laser adjuvant has the capacity to activate innate subsets including dendritic cells (DCs) in skin as conventional adjuvants do, the precise immunological mechanism by which the NIR laser adjuvant acts is largely unknown. In this study we sought to identify the cellular target of the NIR laser adjuvant by using an established mouse model of intradermal influenza vaccination and examining the alteration of responses resulting from genetic ablation of specific DC populations. We found that a continuous wave (CW) NIR laser adjuvant broadly modulates migratory DC (migDC) populations, specifically increasing and activating the Lang+ and CD11b-Lang- subsets in skin, and that the Ab responses augmented by the CW NIR laser are dependent on DC subsets expressing CCR2 and Langerin. In comparison, a pulsed wave NIR laser adjuvant showed limited effects on the migDC subsets. Our vaccination study demonstrated that the efficacy of the CW NIR laser is significantly better than that of the pulsed wave laser, indicating that the CW NIR laser offers a desirable immunostimulatory microenvironment for migDCs. These results demonstrate the unique ability of the NIR laser adjuvant to selectively target specific migDC populations in skin depending on its parameters, and highlight the importance of optimization of laser parameters for desirable immune protection induced by an NIR laser-adjuvanted vaccine.
Copyright © 2017 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.