Nanoparticle size influences the magnitude and quality of mucosal immune responses after intranasal immunization

Armando Stano, Chiara Nembrini, Melody A. Swartz, Jeffrey A. Hubbell, Eleonora Simeoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Background: The development of nanoparticulate antigen-delivery systems is an important emerging area of vaccinology, being sought to amplify immune responses to recombinant antigens that are poorly immunogenic. Nanoparticle size may play an important role in influencing the activity of such particulate-based adjuvants. Methods: To explore how the size of nanoparticles that are in the range of many common viruses can modulate the magnitude and quality of mucosal immune responses, the model antigen ovalbumin (OVA) was conjugated to 30. nm or 200. nm polypropylene sulfide nanoparticles (NPs) and administered intranasally to C57BL/6 mice. Results: We show that by increasing the size of the NPs from 30 to 200nm, OVA was more effectively delivered into both MHC class I and MHC class II-presentation pathways. Intranasal immunization with the 200nm NPs increased the magnitude of CD4+ T cell responses in the lungs, as well as systemic and mucosal humoral responses. Most importantly, 200nm NPs increased the proportion of antigen-specific polyfunctional CD4+ T cells as compared to 30nm NPs. Conclusions: The 200nm NPs are a very interesting antigen nanocarrier for prophylactic vaccines against mucosal pathogens that require multifunctional CD4+ T cells for protection. These results contribute to our understanding of how the size of an antigen-conjugated nanoparticle modulates mucosal immune responses to a protein antigen and may be useful to engineer subunit vaccines able to elicit appropriate mucosal immune responses that correlate with protection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7541-7546
Number of pages6
Issue number52
StatePublished - Dec 14 2012


  • Antigen-delivery system
  • Immunoengineering
  • Mucosal vaccine
  • Nanoparticle
  • Particulate-based adjuvant
  • Polyfunctional T cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • veterinary(all)
  • Molecular Medicine


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