Surfactant vesicle-mediated delivery of DNA vaccines via the subcutaneous route

Yvonne Perrie, J.E. Barralet, Sarah McNeil, Anil K. Vangala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Compared to naked DNA immunisation, entrapment of plasmid-based DNA vaccines into liposomes by the dehydration-rehydration method has shown to enhance both humoural and cell-mediated immune responses to encoded antigens administered by a variety of routes. In this paper we have compared the potency of lipid-based and non-ionic surfactant based vesicle carrier systems for DNA vaccines after subcutaneous immunisation. Plasmid pI.18Sfi/NP containing the nucleoprotein (NP) gene of A/Sichuan/2/87 (H3N2) influenza virus in the pI.18 expression vector was incorporated by the dehydration-rehydration method into various vesicle formulations. The DRV method, entailing mixing of small unilamellar vesicles (SUV) with DNA, followed by dehydration and rehydration, yielded high DNA vaccine incorporation values (85-97% of the DNA used) in all formulations. Studies on vesicle size revealed lipid-based systems formed cationic submicron size vesicles whilst constructs containing a non-ionic surfactant had significantly large z-average diameters (>1500 nm). Subcutaneous vesicle-mediated DNA immunisation employing two DRV(DNA) formulations as well as naked DNA revealed that humoural responses (immunoglobulin total IgG, and subclasses IgG 1 and 1gG 2a) engendered by the plasmid encoded nucleoprotein were substantially higher after dosing twice, 28 days apart with 10 μg DRV-entrapped DNA compared to naked DNA. Comparison between the lipid and non-ionic based vesicle formulations revealed no significant difference in stimulated antibody production. These results suggest that, not only can DNA be effectively entrapped within a range of lipid and non-ionic based vesicle formulations using the DRV method but that such DRV vesicles containing DNA may be a useful system for subcutaneous delivery of DNA vaccines. © 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-41
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmaceutics
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 13 Oct 2004


  • DNA vaccines
  • liposomes
  • niosomes
  • non-ionic surfactant vesicles
  • subcutaneous vaccination


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