We have developed an aggregate of D-octaarginine immobilized at multiple points on a co-polymer of N-vinylacetamide and acrylic acid. Previous studies revealed that immunoglobulin G and A were induced when mice were inoculated with influenza virus antigens under coadministration with the D-octaarginine-immobilized polymers as a mucosal vaccine adjuvant. Infection experiments demonstrated that mice vaccinated with a mixture of inactivated influenza viruses and the polymers were protected from infection with mouse-adapted infectious viruses. In the present study, we investigated the mechanism on antigen delivery under mucosal vaccination using the polymers. Two-hour retention of fluorescein-labeled ovalbumin (F-OVA) on the nasal mucosa was observed when applied with the polymers; nevertheless F-OVA was eliminated less than 10 min under polymer-free conditions. F-OVA mixed with the polymers was vigorously taken up into murine dendritic cells. Electrophoresis and dynamic light scattering analysis indicated that OVA interacted with the polymers. The uptake of F-OVA was hardly ever inhibited by the addition of an excess amount of intact OVA. The results suggested that viral antigens were accumulated on the mucosa and delivered into dendritic cells under basolateral membranes via dendrites extending to the mucosal surface and/or subsequent to their permeation through epithelial cells, when they were coadministered with D-octaarginine-immobilized polymers.
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