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Immunization by subcutaneous implants of polyester-polyurethane sponges coupled with antigen

Keywords: sponge , implant , immunization , vaccine

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A new protocol is described for immunization of outbred Swiss mice. The procedure is based on subcutaneous implantation of antigen-coupled polyester-polyurethane sponges cut into disks of 10 mm in diameter vs 2 mm in thickness. Antigen coupling was performed by overnight incubation of the sponge with a solution of ovalbumin (Ova) (2 mg/ml) diluted in sodium carbonate buffer, pH 9.6. The amount of ovalbumin that was taken up by the sponge was between 71.4 to 82.5 μg. This was estimated by comparing the Ova absorbance at 280 nm in coating buffer solutions before and after incubation. To compare the efficiency of the proposed method, experimental groups immunized with the antigen in the presence of adjuvants (10 μg in Al(OH)3 or 100 μg in complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA)) were run in parallel. The data obtained after the 3rd week of immunization indicate that both cellular and humoral immune responses were achieved. These were assayed by antigen-induced footpad swelling and ELISA (specific antibodies), respectively. The levels of both immune responses elicited were similar to the responses observed in mice immunized with ovalbumin in the presence of Al(OH)3. The method might represent an advantage when immunizing with pathogenic antigens. Preliminary experiments have suggested that the antigen remains immobilized or bound to the sponge for a long period of time, since there is an increment on the cell population inside the sponges after boosting the animals. If so, the undesirable effects of immunization would be reduced.


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