Modifying Dendritic Cell Activation with Plasmonic Nano Vectors

Sci Rep. 2017 Jul 14;7(1):5513. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-04459-1.


Dendritic cells (DCs) can acquire, process, and present antigens to T-cells to induce an immune response. For this reason, targeting cancer antigens to DCs in order to cause an immune response against cancer is an emerging area of nanomedicine that has the potential to redefine the way certain cancers are treated. The use of plasmonically active silver-coated gold nanorods (henceforth referred to as plasmonic nano vectors (PNVs)) as potential carriers for DC tumor vaccines has not been presented before. Effective carriers must be able to be phagocytized by DCs, present low toxicity, and induce the maturation of DCs-an early indication of an immune response. When we treated DCs with the PNVs, we found that the cell viability of DCs was unaffected, up to 200 μg/ml. Additionally, the PNVs associated with the DCs as they were phagocytized and they were found to reside within intracellular compartments such as endosomes. More importantly, the PNVs were able to induce expression of surface markers indicative of DC activation and maturation, i.e. CD40, CD86, and MHC class II. These results provide the first evidence that PNVs are promising carriers for DC-based vaccines and warrant further investigating for clinical use.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • B7-2 Antigen / metabolism*
  • CD40 Antigens / metabolism*
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Dendritic Cells / cytology
  • Dendritic Cells / drug effects
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology*
  • Gold / pharmacology*
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II / pharmacology*
  • Metal Nanoparticles / chemistry
  • Mice
  • Nanotubes / chemistry
  • Phagocytosis
  • Silver / pharmacology*


  • B7-2 Antigen
  • CD40 Antigens
  • Cd86 protein, mouse
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II
  • Silver
  • Gold