Delivery of MUC1 mucin peptide by poly(d,l-lactic-co-glycolic acid) microspheres induces type 1 T helper immune responses



Synthetic peptides corresponding to the variable tandem repeat domain of the cancer-associated antigen MUC1 mucin are candidates for cancer vaccines. In our investigation mice were immunized via subcutaneous injection with poly(d,l-lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) microspheres containing a MUC1 mucin peptide. It was hypothesized that microencapsulation of the MUC1 mucin peptide would prime for antigen-specific Th1 responses while avoiding the need for traditional adjuvants and carrier proteins. Furthermore, an immunomodulator, monophosphoryl lipid A (MPLA), was incorporated into the peptide-loaded PLGA microspheres based on its ability to enhance Th1 responses. The results revealed T cell specific immune responses. The cytokine secretion profiles of the T cells consisted of high levels of interferon-γ with undetectable levels of interleukin-4 and interleukin-10. Moreover, incorporation of MPLA in the MUC1 peptide-loaded PLGA microspheres resulted in an increase in interferon-γ production. The antibody response was negative for IgM and IgG in the absence of MPLA; however, in the presence of MPLA antibody production was negative for IgM with a minimal IgG response consisting of IgG2a, IgG2b, and IgG3. Based on the antibody and cytokine profiles, it was concluded that MUC1 mucin peptide-loaded PLGA microspheres are capable of eliciting specific Th1 responses, which may be enhanced through the use of MPLA.