In this study, we aimed to investigate the immunogenicity of cationic liposomes loaded with diphtheria toxoid (DT) and poly(I:C) after hollow microneedle-mediated intradermal vaccination in mice. The following liposomal formulations were studied: DT loaded liposomes, a mixture of free DT and poly(I:C)-loaded liposomes, a mixture of DT-loaded liposomes and free poly(I:C), and liposomal formulations with DT and poly(I:C) either individually or co-encapsulated in the liposomes. Reference groups were DT solution adjuvanted with or without poly(I:C) (DT/poly(I:C)). The liposomal formulations were characterized in terms of particle size, zeta potential, loading and release of DT and poly(I:C). After intradermal injection of BALB/c mice with the formulations through a hollow microneedle, the immunogenicity was assessed by DT-specific ELISAs. All formulations induced similar total IgG and IgG1 titers. However, all the liposomal groups containing both DT and poly(I:C) showed enhanced IgG2a titers compared to DT/poly(I:C) solution, indicating that the immune response was skewed towards a Th1 direction. This enhancement was similar for all liposomal groups that contain both DT and poly(I:C) in the formulations. Our results reveal that a mixture of DT encapsulated liposomes and poly(I:C) encapsulated liposomes have a similar effect on the antibody responses as DT and poly(I:C) co-encapsulated liposomes. These findings may have implications for future design of liposomal vaccine delivery systems.
Keywords: Diphtheria toxoid; Hollow microneedle; Immunogenicity; Intradermal vaccination; Liposomes; Poly(I:C).
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