A monovalent influenza split vaccine was microencapsulated in poly(D,L- lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) and ABA triblock copolymers using a W/O/W double emulsion technique. To stabilize the antigen, influenza vaccine was also coencapsulated with liposomes. Antigen release from microspheres was determined in vitro using a hemagglutinin-specific ELISA. PLGA-microspheres with liposomes released immunoreactive hemagglutinin in a pulsatile manner, a preferred feature for the development of a single dose vaccine delivery system. Influenza hemagglutinin specific IgG and neutralizing antibody responses were studied in BALB/c mice following subcutaneous injection of different microsphere preparations. PLGA-microspheres elicited a significantly higher primary IgG response compared to nonencapsulated antigen. ABA-microspheres seemed to be less immunogenic than PLGA- microspheres based on the IgG antibody response, however, similar levels of neutralizing antibodies were observed after eight weeks with both polymers. Entrapment of the antigen in liposomes prior to microencapsulation did not further enhance the immune response. The immunopotentating effect of the antigen-loaded microspheres was prominently enhanced when they were given as suspension in fluid antigen, suggesting that free antigen may serve as priming and microencapsulated antigen as booster dose. Eight weeks after a single subcutaneous immunization with PLGA or ABA-microspheres neutralizing antibodies were as high as those obtained after two subcutaneous administrations of fluid vaccine four weeks apart. Microencapsulated influenza antigen may have potential for a single dose vaccine delivery system with adjuvant properties.
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