Suppressing Subcapsular Sinus Macrophages Enhances Transport of Nanovaccines to Lymph Node Follicles for Robust Humoral Immunity

Yinan Zhang, Wilson Poon, Elana Sefton, Warren CW Chan

ACS Nano 2020 | DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.0c02240


Nanovaccines need to be transported to lymph node follicles to induce humoral immunity and generate neutralizing antibodies. Here, we discovered that subcapsular sinus macrophages play a barrier role to prevent nanovaccines from accessing lymph node follicles. This is illustrated by measuring the humoral immune responses after removing or functionally altering these cells in the nanovaccine transport process. We achieved up to 60 times more antigen-specific antibody production after suppressing subcapsular sinus macrophages. The degree of the enhanced antibody production is dependent on the nanovaccine dose and size, formulation, and administration time. We further found that pharmacological agents that disrupt the macrophage uptake function can be considered as adjuvants in vaccine development. Immunizing mice using nanovaccines formulated with these agents can induce more than 30 times higher antigen-specific antibody production compared to nanovaccines alone. These findings suggest that altering transport barriers to enable more of the nanovaccine to be delivered to the lymph node follicles for neutralizing antibody production is an effective strategy to boost vaccination.