A fast-dissolving microneedle array loaded with chitosan nanoparticles to evoke systemic immune responses in mice†
Microneedle (MN) arrays offer an alternative approach to hypodermic injection via syringe needles. In this work, polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP)-based fast dissolving MN arrays were developed in which the needle tips were loaded with chitosan nanoparticles (NPs) for coencapsulation of a model antigen, ovalbumin (OVA), and an adjuvant, CpG oligodeoxynucleotides (CpG). After insertion into the skin, these MN arrays fully dissolved within 3 min to release antigen and adjuvant co-loaded NPs rapidly in the epidermal layer. Positively charged chitosan was proven to be an excellent carrier for negatively charged OVA and CpG, which formed nanocomplexes via simple electrostatic interactions and greatly enhanced the uptake efficiency of OVA in DC2.4 dendritic cells. Vaccination studies in mice further demonstrated that chitosan NPs effectively accumulated in peripheral lymph nodes, thus inducing greatly enhanced immune responses compared to those of free OVA. The antibody dose–response curve further demonstrated that MN immunization achieved comparable levels of immune responses as compared to conventional subcutaneous injections in a more convenient and less invasive way. Overall, a PVP-based fast dissolving MN array with chitosan NPs represents a promising and robust platform system for efficient transcutaneous vaccine delivery.