The vesicle size of DDA:TDB liposomal adjuvants plays a role in the cell-mediated immune response but has no significant effect on antibody production

Malou Henriksen-Lacey, Andrew Devitt, Yvonne Perrie

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The use of cationic liposomes as experimental adjuvants for subunit peptide of protein vaccines is well documented. Recently the cationic liposome CAF01, composed of dimethyldioctadecylammonium (DDA) and trehalose dibehenate (TDB), has entered Phase I clinical trials for use in a tuberculosis (TB) vaccine. CAF01 liposomes are a heterogeneous population with a mean vesicle size of 500 nm; a strong retention of antigen at the injection site and a Th1-biassed immune response are noted. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether CAF01 liposomes of significantly different vesicle sizes exhibited altered pharmacokinetics in vivo and cellular uptake with activation in vitro. Furthermore, the immune response against the TB antigen Ag85B-ESAT-6 was followed when various sized CAF01 liposomes were used as vaccine adjuvants. The results showed no differences in vaccine (liposome or antigen) draining from the injection site, however, significant differences in the movement of liposomes to the popliteal lymph node were noted. Liposome uptake by THP-1 vitamin D3 stimulated macrophage-like cells did not show a liposome size-dependent pattern of uptake. Finally, whilst there were no significant differences in the IgG1/2 regardless of the liposome size used as a delivery vehicle for Ag85B-ESAT-6, vesicle size has a size dependent effect on cell proliferation and IL-10 production with larger liposomes (in excess of 2 μm) promoting the highest proliferation and lowest IL-10 responses, yet vesicles of ~500 nm promoting higher IFN-γ cytokine production from splenocytes and higher IL-1β at the site of injection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-137
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Controlled Release
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sep 2011


  • vaccines
  • cationic liposome
  • immunostimulatory agents
  • adjuvant
  • biodistribution

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