Biological Systems Engineering


Date of this Version



Published in Experimental Biology and Medicine, 2016. doi 10.1177/1535370216643771


Copyright © 2016 by the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine. Used by permission.


DNA vaccination has emerged as a promising alternative to traditional protein-based vaccines for the induction of protective immune responses. DNA vaccines offer several advantages over traditional vaccines, including increased stability, rapid and inexpensive production, and flexibility to produce vaccines for a wide variety of infectious diseases. However, the immunogenicity of DNA vaccines delivered as naked plasmid DNA is often weak due to degradation of the DNA by nucleases and inefficient delivery to immune cells. Therefore, biomaterial-based delivery systems based on micro- and nanoparticles that encapsulate plasmid DNA represent the most promising strategy for DNA vaccine delivery. Microparticulate delivery systems allow for passive targeting to antigen presenting cells through size exclusion and can allow for sustained presentation of DNA to cells through degradation and release of encapsulated vaccines. In contrast, nanoparticle encapsulation leads to increased internalization, overall greater transfection efficiency, and the ability to increase uptake across mucosal surfaces. Moreover, selection of the appropriate biomaterial can lead to increased immune stimulation and activation through triggering innate immune response receptors and target DNA to professional antigen presenting cells. Finally, the selection of materials with the appropriate properties to achieve efficient delivery through administration routes conducive to high patient compliance and capable of generating systemic and local (i.e. mucosal) immunity can lead to more effective humoral and cellular protective immune responses. In this review, we discuss the development of novel biomaterial- based delivery systems to enhance the delivery of DNA vaccines through various routes of administration and their implications for generating immune responses.