Polymeric particles in vaccine delivery.
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The tremendous power of the particulate vaccine delivery system has only recently been recognized and employed strategically in vaccine design. The entrapment of antigen in particles clearly alters its acquisition and processing by antigen presenting cells and ensuing adaptive immunity. The adjuvant activity of particles has recently been described at the molecular level as engaging the Nalp3 inflammasome and complementing the activity of toll-like receptor ligands. The inclusion of antigen within erodible particles and subsequent delivery to dendritic cells (DCs), enables antigen-specific cell-mediated immunity and extended antigen presentation with protective outcomes. Particles less than 1 microm in size with amphipathic coatings efficiently deliver antigen to and activate DCs with concomitant engagement of humoral and cellular immunity. The size and dissolution rates of particles as well as surface chemistry and charge appear to be central in tuning adaptive immunity.