Nanoparticle size influences antigen retention and presentation in lymph node follicles for humoral immunity

Yi-Nan Zhang, James Lazarovits, Wilson Poon, Ben Ouyang, Luan NM Nguyen, Benjamin R Kingston, Warren CW Chan

Nano Lett. 2019, 19, 10, 7226–7235 | DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.9b02834


Lymph node follicles capture and retain antigens to induce germinal centers and long-lived humoral immunity. However, control over antigen retention has been limited. Here we discovered that antigen conjugated to nanoparticle carriers of different sizes impacts the intralymph node transport and specific cell interaction. We found that follicular dendritic cell (FDC) networks determine the intralymph node follicle fate of these nanoparticles by clearing smaller ones (5–15 nm) within 48 h and retaining larger ones (50–100 nm) for over 5 weeks. The 50–100 nm-sized nanoparticles had 175-fold more delivery of antigen at the FDC dendrites, 5-fold enhanced humoral immune responses of germinal center B cell formation, and 5-fold more antigen-specific antibody production over 5–15 nm nanoparticles. Our results show that we can tune humoral immunity by simply manipulating the carrier size design to produce effectiveness of vaccines.