Adjuvant effect of cationic liposomes and CpG depends on administration route

Publication Type:

Journal Article


J Control Release, Volume 154, pp. 123-130 (2011)


1873-4995 (Electronic)01

DOI Name (links to online publication)



In this study we explored the immunization route-dependent adjuvanticity of cationic liposomes loaded with an antigen (ovalbumin; OVA) and an immune potentiator (CpG). Mice were immunized intranodally, intradermally, transcutaneously (with microneedle pre-treatment) and nasally with liposomal OVA/CpG or OVA/CpG solution. In vitro, OVA/CpG liposomes showed enhanced uptake by DCs of both OVA and CpG compared to OVA+CpG solution. A similar enhanced uptake by DCs was observed in vivo when fluorescent OVA/CpG liposomes were administered intranodally. However, after transcutaneous and nasal application a lower uptake of OVA/CpG liposomes compared to an OVA+CpG solution was observed. Moreover, the IgG titers after nasal and transcutaneous administration of OVA/CpG liposomes were reduced compared to administration of an OVA+CpG solution. Although serum IgG titers may suggest limited added value of liposomes to the immunogenicity, for all routes, OVA/CpG liposomes resulted in elevated IgG2a levels, whereas administration of OVA+CpG solutions did not. These data show that encapsulation of antigen and adjuvant into a cationic liposome has a beneficial effect on the quality of the antibody response in mice after intranodal or intradermal immunization, but impairs proper delivery of antigen and adjuvant to the lymph nodes when the formulations are administered transcutaneously or nasally.