Dissolving Microneedles for Intradermal Vaccination against Shigellosis
Yadira Pastor 1 2 , Eneko Larrañeta 3 4 , Álvaro Erhard 5 6 , Gemma Quincoces 7 , Iván Peñuelas 8 , Juan M Irache 9 10 , Ryan Donnelly 11 12 , Carlos Gamazo 13 14
Intradermal (ID) immunization is of increasing interest due to the easy accessibility and excellent immunogenic properties of the skin. Among ID immunization methods, dissolving microneedles (MNs) have appeared as an alternative to traditional hypodermic immunization, offering many advantages, such as being an easily administered method, with no need for health personnel, painless, and avoiding the use of needles and sharp wastage.
In this study, an affordable and easy-to-produce MNs method was developed based on aqueous blends of 30% w/w poly (methyl vinyl ether-co-maleic anhydride). As an antigen model, a subunit vaccine candidate based on outer membrane vesicles from Shigella flexneri was used. Both unloaded and antigen-loaded MNs were synthetized and characterized. The MNs were successfully validated in an in vitro Parafilm M® skin model and in a pig skin ex vivo model.
Biodistribution studies were performed in BALB/c mice using 99mTcO4- radiolabeled samples. Results indicated that the vesicle vaccine was successfully released from the MNs and targeted gastrointestinal tract after 6 h post-administration. In vivo immunization and protection studies were performed in BALB/c mice.
Mice were intradermally immunized through ear skin with one single dose of 200 g antigenic complex, eliciting the production of specific systemic IgG and mucosal IgA. Moreover, MNs were able to protect mice from an experimental infection with 1×106 CFU/mouse of S. flexneri four weeks after immunization.
This work demonstrates for the first time the potential of outer membrane vesicle-loaded dissolving MNs for ID vaccination against enteropathogens like Shigella.