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Adjuvant-free nanofiber vaccine induces in situ lung dendritic cell activation and TH17 responses


The current paradigm that subunit vaccines require adjuvants to optimally activate innate immunity implies that increased vaccine reactogenicity will invariably be linked to improved immunogenicity. Countering this paradigm, nanoparticulate vaccines have been reported to act as delivery systems for vaccine antigens and induce immunity without the need for exogenous adjuvants or local inflammation; however, the mechanisms underlying the immunogenicity of nanoparticle vaccines are incompletely identified. Here, we show that antigens displayed on self-assembling nanofiber scaffolds and delivered intranasally are presented by CD103+ and CD11b+ lung dendritic cells that up-regulate CD80 and migrate into the draining lymph node (LN). This was accompanied by a nearly exclusive priming and accumulation of antigen-specific TH17 cells occurring independently in both LN and lung. Thus, self-assembling peptide nanofiber vaccines may represent a novel, needle- and adjuvant-free means of eliciting protective immunity against fungal and bacterial infections at skin and mucosal barrier surfaces.

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