Lipid nanoparticle composition for adjuvant formulation modulates disease after influenza virus infection in QIV vaccinated mice

bioRxiv [Preprint]. 2024 Jan 15:2024.01.14.575599. doi: 10.1101/2024.01.14.575599.


Adjuvants can enhance vaccine effectiveness of currently licensed influenza vaccines. We tested influenza vaccination in a mouse model with two adjuvants: Sendai virus derived defective interfering (SDI) RNA, a RIG-I agonist, and an amphiphilic imidazoquinoline (IMDQ-PEG-Chol), TLR7/8 adjuvant. The negatively charged SDI RNA was formulated into lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) facilitating the direct delivery of a RIG-I agonist to the cytosol. We have previously tested SDI and IMDQ-PEG-Chol as standalone and combination adjuvants for influenza and SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. Here we tested two different ionizable lipids, K-Ac7-Dsa and S-Ac7-Dog, for LNP formulations. The adjuvanticity of IMDQ-PEG-Chol with and without empty or SDI-loaded LNPs was validated in a licensed vaccine setting (quadrivalent influenza vaccine or QIV) against H1N1 influenza virus, showing robust induction of antibody titres and T cell responses. Depending on the adjuvant combination and LNP lipid composition (K-Ac7-Dsa or S-Ac7-Dog lipids), humoral and cellular vaccine responses could be tailored towards type 1 or type 2 host responses with specific cytokine profiles that correlated with protection during viral infection. The extent of protection conferred by different vaccine/LNP/adjuvant combinations was examined against challenge with the vaccine-matching strain of H1N1 influenza A virus. Groups that received either LNP formulated with SDI, IMDQ-PEG-Chol or both showed very low levels of viral replication in their lungs at five days post virus infection. LNP ionizable lipid composition as well as loading (empty versus SDI) also skewed host responses to infection, as reflected in the cytokine and chemokine levels in lungs of vaccinated animals upon infection. These studies show the potential of LNPs as adjuvant delivery vehicles for licensed vaccines and illustrate the importance of LNP composition for subsequent host responses to infection, an important point of consideration for vaccine safety.

Keywords: Adjuvant; Antibody Class Switching; IgG; Influenza Vaccine; Lipid nanoparticles; QIV; T cell; cytokines; ionizable lipids; vaccine formulations.

Publication types

  • Preprint