UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Investigation of the immunostimulatory activity and vaccine potential of lipid encapsulated plasmid DNA and oligodeoxynucleoties Wilson, Kaley


DNA vaccines offer unique promise as a means of generating immunity against infectious and malignant disease. Unfortunately a number of obstacles, including rapid degradation of naked plasmid DNA (pDNA), poor cellular uptake by antigen presenting cells (APCs) and subsequent low levels of gene expression have limited the ability of DNA vaccines to raise sufficient immune responses towards the target antigen. This thesis is focused on investigating the immunostimulatory potential of liposomal nanoparticulate (LN) formulations of pDNA (stabilized plasmid lipid particles; SPLP) and cytosine-guanine oligodeoxynucleotides (CpG-ODN; LN CpG-ODN), and examining their ability to act together as a non-viral DNA vaccine in attempt to address the shortcomings of current DNA vaccine approaches. One focus of this thesis concerns investigating the immunostimulatory activity of LN formulations of CpG-ODN and pDNA. It is shown that despite dramatic differences in pharmacokinetics and biodistribution of LN CpG-ODN following intravenous (i.v.) and subcutaneous (s.c.) administration the resultant immune response is very similar, which is concluded to be due to the intrinsic ability of APCs to sequester LN CpG- ODN. In addition, it is demonstrated that lipid encapsulation dramatically enhances the immunostimulatory potential of pDNA and it is observed that SPLP maintains immunostimulatory activity in Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9) knock-out mice. Together theses findings highlight the need for DNA-based therapies to consider both TLR9-dependent and -independent immunostimulatory activities of pDNA when constructing non-viral vectors. Furthermore, a new role for SPLP as a non-viral gene delivery vehicle for the generation of a systemically administered genetic vaccine in the presence of LN CpG-ODN is introduced. The ability of vaccination with SPLP to act prophylactically, to protect mice from tumour challenge, and therapeutically, in a novel vaccination strategy where the antigen is expressed at the tumour site as a result of SPLP-mediated transfection, is explored, demonstrating that in the presence of LN CpG-ODN SPLP possesses potential as a non-viral delivery system for DNA-based cancer vaccines. In summary, this work represents a substantial advance in the understanding of the immunostimulatory potential of both SPLP and LN CpG-ODN and provides insight into their ability to work together as a non-viral DNA vaccine.

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