Journal of controlled release : official journal of the Controlled Release Society vol:104 issue:2 pages:243-58
Receptor-mediated uptake of orally administered antigen can lead to an antigen-specific immune response, whereas oral administration of most other non-replicating soluble antigens results in the induction of oral tolerance. In the present study, it is shown that fimbriae purified from an F4(K88)(+) enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli strain can function as a mucosal carrier molecule for the model antigen human serum albumin (HSA). Glutaraldehyde-coupled F4/HSA conjugates were able to bind F4 receptor positive (F4R(+)) enterocytes, but not to F4R(-) enterocytes. Moreover, oral immunization of F4R(+) pigs with F4/HSA conjugates induced a HSA-specific immune response, whereas oral immunization with HSA/HSA conjugates did not. This mucosal carrier function of F4 fimbriae was improved following oral co-administration of the F4/HSA conjugates with the mucosal adjuvant cholera toxin (CT) to F4R(+) pigs, since both humoral and cellular HSA-specific responses were significantly increased. In comparison with F4R(+) pigs, the HSA-specific response was reduced following oral F4/HSA+CT immunization of F4R(-) pigs. This indicates that F4 fimbriae as mucosal carrier and CT as adjuvant synergistically improve the induction of a HSA-specific immune response following oral immunization of pigs. These results could open new perspectives in the development of vaccines against enteropathogens.