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Stabilised aluminium phosphate nanoparticles used as vaccine adjuvant

Vrieling, Hilde, Espitia Ballestas, Margarita, Hamzink, Martin, Willems, Geert-Jan, Soema, Peter, Jiskoot, Wim, Kersten, Gideon, Metz, Bernard
Colloids and surfaces 2019 v.181 pp. 648-656
adsorption, aluminum phosphate, antibodies, antigens, arginine, asparagine, aspartic acid, immunization, lysozyme, mice, microparticles, models, nanoparticles, pH, particle size, screening, sonication, threonine, vaccine adjuvants
Aluminium phosphate is a commonly used adjuvant consisting of heterogeneously sized aggregates up to several micrometers. However, aluminium phosphate nanoparticles may exhibit an improved adjuvant effect. In this study, nanoparticles were made by sonication of commercially available aluminium phosphate adjuvant, resulting in particles with a size (Z-average diameter) between 200–300 nm and a point of zero charge of 4.5. To prevent reaggregation, which occurred within 14 days, a screening of excipients was performed to identify stabilisers effective under physiological conditions (pH 7.4, 290 mOsm). The amino acids threonine, asparagine, and L-alanyl-L-1-aminoethylphosphonic acid (LAPA) stabilised sonicated aluminium phosphate. Particle sizes remained stable between 400–600 nm at 37 °C during 106 days. Contrarily, arginine induced strong reaggregation to a particle size larger than 1000 nm. The stability of aluminium phosphate nanoparticles was strongly affected by the pH. Aggregation mainly occurred below pH 7. The adsorption capacity, a potentially relevant parameter for adjuvants, was slightly reduced in the presence of asparagine, when using a model antigen (lysozyme). LAPA, arginine, threonine and aspartic acid reduced protein adsorption significantly. The adjuvant effect of aluminium phosphate nanoparticles was studied by immunisation of mice with diphtheria toxoid adjuvanted with the aluminium phosphate nanoparticles. The presence of LAPA, threonine, aspartic acid or asparagine did not alter diphtheria toxoid-specific antibody or toxin-neutralising antibody titres. Arginine increased diphtheria toxoid-specific antibody titres but not toxin-neutralising antibody titres. In conclusion, aluminium phosphate nanoparticles were stabilised by particular amino acids and induced an adjuvant effect comparable to that of aluminium phosphate microparticles.