Although the immunogenicity of DNA vaccines is nonideal, they are still considered as potential alternative vaccine candidates to conventional vaccines. Various DNA delivery systems, including nanoparticles, have been extensively explored and validated to further enhance the immunogenicity of DNA vaccines. DNA vaccines are considered as alternative vaccine candidates. Various DNA delivery systems, including nanoparticles, have been extensively explored to enhance the immunogenicity of DNA vaccines. In this study, positively charged Poly (D, l-lactide-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) nanoparticles were generated and characterized as a delivery system for O-serotype foot-and-mouth DNA vaccine. A recombinant plasmid encoding swine interleukin (IL)-18, IL-2, or granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) gene was introduced into the DNA vaccine to further improve its immunogenicity, which was evaluated in a guinea pig model. PLGA-pVAX-VP013/IL-18 elicited significantly (P = 0.0149) higher FMDV-specific antibody levels than naked DNA before the challenge. The level of neutralizing antibodies induced by PLGA-pVAX-VP013/IL-18, PLGA-pVAX-VP013/IL-2, and PLGA-pVAX-VP013/GM-CSF significantly increased compared with that induced by naked DNA (P < 0.0001). The lymphocyte proliferation assay showed that cellular immunity induced by PLGA-pVAX-VP013/IL-18 and PLGA-pVAX-VP013/GM-CSF was dramatically enhanced compared with that induced by the inactivated vaccine. The protection by PLGA-pVAX-VP013/IL-18 was consistent with that by the inactivated vaccine post-challenge and was followed by PLGA-pVAX-VP013/GM-CSF. Therefore, cationic PLGA nanoparticles can deliver DNA vaccines and induce humoral and cellular immune responses. The co-administration of FMD DNA vaccine with IL-18 formulated with PLGA nanoparticles was the optimal strategy to improve the immunogenicity of FMD DNA vaccines.
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