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Silica Nanoparticles as the Adjuvant for the Immunisation of Mice Using Hepatitis B Core Virus-Like Particles

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      Abstract

      Advances in nanotechnology and nanomaterials have facilitated the development of silicon dioxide, or Silica, particles as a promising immunological adjuvant for the generation of novel prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines. In the present study, we have compared the adjuvanting potential of commercially available Silica nanoparticles (initial particles size of 10–20 nm) with that of aluminium hydroxide, or Alum, as well as that of complete and incomplete Freund's adjuvants for the immunisation of BALB/c mice with virus-like particles (VLPs) formed by recombinant full-length Hepatitis B virus core (HBc) protein. The induction of B-cell and T-cell responses was studied after immunisation. Silica nanoparticles were able to adsorb maximally 40% of the added HBc, whereas the adsorption capacity of Alum exceeded 90% at the same VLPs/adjuvant ratio. Both Silica and Alum formed large complexes with HBc VLPs that sedimented rapidly after formulation, as detected by dynamic light scattering, spectrophotometry, and electron microscopy. Both Silica and Alum augmented the humoral response against HBc VLPs to the high anti-HBc level in the case of intraperitoneal immunisation, whereas in subcutaneous immunisation, the Silica-adjuvanted anti-HBc level even exceeded the level adjuvanted by Alum. The adjuvanting of HBc VLPs by Silica resulted in the same typical IgG2a/IgG1 ratios as in the case of the adjuvanting by Alum. The combination of Silica with monophosphoryl lipid A (MPL) led to the same enhancement of the HBc-specific T-cell induction as in the case of the Alum and MPL combination. These findings demonstrate that Silica is not a weaker putative adjuvant than Alum for induction of B-cell and T-cell responses against recombinant HBc VLPs. This finding may have an essential impact on the development of the set of Silica-adjuvanted vaccines based on a long list of HBc-derived virus-like particles as the biological component.

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      Most cited references 54

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      Hepatitis B virus immunopathogenesis.

      Approximately 5% of the world population is infected by the hepatitis B virus (HBV) that causes a necroinflammatory liver disease of variable duration and severity. Chronically infected patients with active liver disease carry a high risk of developing cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. The immune response to HBV-encoded antigens is responsible both for viral clearance and for disease pathogenesis during this infection. While the humoral antibody response to viral envelope antigens contributes to the clearance of circulating virus particles, the cellular immune response to the envelope, nucleocapsid, and polymerase antigens eliminates infected cells. The class I- and class II-restricted T cell responses to the virus are vigorous, polyclonal, and multispecific in acutely infected patients who successfully clear the virus, and the responses are relatively weak and more narrowly focused in chronically infected patients who do not. The pathogenetic and antiviral potential of the cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) response to HBV has been demonstrated by the induction of a severe necroinflammatory liver disease following the adoptive transfer of HBsAg-specific CTL into HBV transgenic mice, and by the noncytolytic suppression of viral gene expression and replication in the same animals by a posttranscriptional mechanism mediated by interferon gamma, tumor necrosis factor alpha, and interleukin 2. The dominant cause of viral persistence during HBV infection is the development of a weak antiviral immune response to the viral antigens. While neonatal tolerance probably plays an important role in viral persistence in patients infected at birth, the basis for poor responsiveness in adult-onset infection is not well understood and requires further analysis. Viral evasion by epitope inactivation and T cell receptor antagonism may contribute to the worsening of viral persistence in the setting of an ineffective immune response, as can the incomplete downregulation of viral gene expression and the infection of immunologically privileged tissues. Chronic liver cell injury and the attendant inflammatory and regenerative responses create the mutagenic and mitogenic stimuli for the development of DNA damage that can cause hepatocellular carcinoma. Elucidation of the immunological and virological basis for HBV persistence may yield immunotherapeutic and antiviral strategies to terminate chronic HBV infection and reduce the risk of its life-threatening sequellae.
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        Towards an understanding of the adjuvant action of aluminium.

        The efficacy of vaccines depends on the presence of an adjuvant in conjunction with the antigen. Of these adjuvants, the ones that contain aluminium, which were first discovered empirically in 1926, are currently the most widely used. However, a detailed understanding of their mechanism of action has only started to be revealed. In this Timeline article, we briefly describe the initial discovery of aluminium adjuvants and discuss historically important advances. We also summarize recent progress in the field and discuss their implications and the remaining questions on how these adjuvants work.
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          The crystal structure of the human hepatitis B virus capsid.

          Hepatitis B is a small enveloped DNA virus that poses a major hazard to human health. The crystal structure of the T = 4 capsid has been solved at 3.3 A resolution, revealing a largely helical protein fold that is unusual for icosahedral viruses. The monomer fold is stabilized by a hydrophobic core that is highly conserved among human viral variants. Association of two amphipathic alpha-helical hairpins results in formation of a dimer with a four-helix bundle as the major central feature. The capsid is assembled from dimers via interactions involving a highly conserved region near the C terminus of the truncated protein used for crystallization. The major immunodominant region lies at the tips of the alpha-helical hairpins that form spikes on the capsid surface.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1 ]Latvian Biomedical Research and Study Centre, Riga, Latvia
            [2 ]Institute of Biomedical Engineering and Nanotechnologies, Riga Technical University, Riga, Latvia
            Academia Sinica, Taiwan
            Author notes

            Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

            Conceived and designed the experiments: PP DS. Performed the experiments: DS IL IP JB VO RR. Analyzed the data: DS PP IP VO YD. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: IL DS JB VO. Wrote the paper: DS PP AD.

            Contributors
            Role: Editor
            Journal
            PLoS One
            PLoS ONE
            plos
            plosone
            PLoS ONE
            Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
            1932-6203
            2014
            1 December 2014
            : 9
            : 12
            25436773
            4250084
            PONE-D-14-41450
            10.1371/journal.pone.0114006
            (Editor)

            This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

            Counts
            Pages: 17
            Funding
            This work was supported by ERDF 2013/0053/2DP/2.1.1.1.0/13/APIA/VIAA/006 ( http://biomed.lu.lv/en/research/projects/all-projects/technology-to-obtain-high-quality-virus-like-nanostructures-based-on-hbv-core-antigen/). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
            Categories
            Research Article
            Biology and Life Sciences
            Biotechnology
            Immunology
            Immune Response
            Antibody Response
            Vaccination and Immunization
            Immunologic Adjuvants
            Molecular Biology
            Engineering and Technology
            Nanotechnology
            Nanoparticles
            Custom metadata
            The authors confirm that all data underlying the findings are fully available without restriction. All relevant data are within the paper.

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