A crucial issue in vaccine development is to balance safety with immunogenicity. The low immunogenicity of most subunit antigens warrants a search for adjuvants able to stimulate both cell-mediated and humoral immunity. In recent years, successful applications of nanotechnology and bioengineering in the field of vaccine development have enabled the production of novel adjuvant technologies. In this work, we investigated totally synthetic and supramolecular peptide hydrogels as novel vaccine adjuvants in conjunction with the immunoprotective envelope protein domain III (EIII) of West Nile virus as an immunogen in a mouse model. Our results indicate that, compared to the clinically approved adjuvant alum, peptide hydrogel adjuvanted antigen elicited stronger antibody responses and conferred significant protection against mortality after virus challenge. The high chemical definition and biocompatibility of self-assembling peptide hydrogels makes them attractive as immune adjuvants for the production of subunit vaccines against viral and bacterial infections where antibody-mediated protection is desirable.
- West Nile