Strangles is a bacterial infection of the Equidae family that affects the nasopharynx and draining lymph nodes, caused by Streptococcus equi subspecies equi. This agent is responsible for 30% of all worldwide equine infections and is quite sensitive to penicillin and other antibiotics. However, prevention is still the best option because the current antibiotic therapy and vaccination is often ineffective. As S. equi induces very strong systemic and mucosal responses in convalescent horses, an effective and economic strangles vaccine is still a priority. In this study the humoral, cellular and mucosal immune responses to S. equi antigens encapsulated or adsorbed onto poly-ε-caprolactone nanospheres were evaluated in mice. Particles were produced by a double (w/o/w) emulsion solvent evaporation technique and contained mucoadhesive polymers (alginate or chitosan) and absorption enhancers (spermine, oleic acid). Their intranasal administration, particularly those constituted by the mucoadhesive polymers, increased the immunogenicity and mucosal immune responses (SIgA) to the antigen. The inclusion of cholera toxin B subunit in the formulations successfully further activated the paths leading to Th1 and Th2 cells. Therefore, those PCL nanospheres are potential carriers for the delivery of S.equi antigens to protect animals against strangles. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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