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MM Abhyankar, MT Orr, S Lin, MO Suraju, A Simpson, M Blust, T Pham, JA Guderian, MA Tomai, J Elvecrog, K Pedersen, WA Petri and CB Fox
Amebiasis caused by Entamoeba histolytica is the third leading cause of parasitic mortality globally, with some 100,000 deaths annually, primarily among young children. Protective immunity to amebiasis is associated with fecal IgA and IFN-γ in humans; however, no vaccine exists. We have previously identified recombinant LecA as a potential protective vaccine antigen. Here we describe the development of a stable, manufacturable PEGylated liposomal adjuvant formulation containing two synthetic Toll-like receptor (TLR) ligands: GLA (TLR4) and 3M-052 (TLR7/8). The liposomes stimulated production of monocyte/macrophage chemoattractants MCP-1 and Mip-1β, and Th1-associated cytokines IL-12p70 and IFN-γ from human whole blood dependent on TLR ligand composition and dose. The liposomes also demonstrated acceptable physicochemical compatibility with the recombinant LecA antigen. Whereas mice immunized with LecA and GLA-liposomes demonstrated enhanced antigen-specific fecal IgA titers, mice immunized with LecA and 3M-052-liposomes showed a stronger Th1 immune profile. Liposomes containing GLA and 3M-052 together elicited both LecA-specific fecal IgA and Th1 immune responses. Furthermore, the quality of the immune response could be modulated with modifications to the liposomal formulation based on PEG length. Compared to subcutaneous administration, the optimized liposome adjuvant composition with LecA antigen administered intranasally resulted in significantly enhanced fecal IgA, serum IgG2a, as well as systemic IFN-γ and IL-17A levels in mice. The optimized intranasal regimen provided greater than 80% protection from disease as measured by parasite antigen in the colon. This work demonstrates the physicochemical and immunological characterization of an optimized mucosal adjuvant system containing a combination of TLR ligands with complementary activities and illustrates the importance of adjuvant composition and route of delivery to enhance a multifaceted and protective immune response to amebiasis.
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