The potential of a microparticulate vaccine delivery system in eliciting a specific mucosal antibody response in the respiratory tract of mice was evaluated. Two vaccine candidate peptides representing epitopes from the G attachment and F fusion antigens from bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV) were encapsulated into poly(dl- lactide co-glycolide) biodegradable microparticles. The encapsulation process did not denature the entrapped peptides as verified by detection of peptide-specific antibodies in mucosal secretions by ELISA using peptide as antigen. Following intranasal immunisation, the encapsulated peptides induced stronger upper and lower respiratory tract specific-IgA responses, respectively, than the soluble peptide forms. Moreover, a strong peptide-specific cell-mediated immune response was measured in splenocytes in vitro from the mice inoculated with the encapsulated peptides compared to their soluble form alone indicating that migration of primed T cells had taken place from the site of mucosal stimulation in the upper respiratory tract to the spleen. These results act as a foundation for vaccine efficacy studies in large animal BRSV challenge models.
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