Eliciting immune response by using nanostructures
The ability of dendritic cells to coordinate innate and adaptive immune responses makes them essential targets for vaccination strategies. Presentation of specific antigens by dendritic cells is required for the activation of the immune system against many pathogens and cancer, and nanoscale materials can be functionalized for active targeting of dendritic cells. In this work, we integrated an immunogenic, carbohydrate melanoma-associated antigen-mimetic GM3-lactone molecule into mannosylated peptide amphiphile nanofibers to target dendritic cells through DC-SIGN receptor. Based on morphological and functional analyses, when dendritic cells were treated with peptide nanofiber carriers, they showed significant increase in antigen internalization and a corresponding increase in the surface expression of the activation and maturation markers CD86, CD83 and HLA-DR, in addition to exhibiting a general morphology consistent with dendritic cell maturation. These results indicate that mannosylated peptide amphiphile nanofiber carriers are promising candidates to target dendritic cells for antigen delivery. Overall these structures are proven to be effective in terms of dendritic cell activation and maturation and hold high potential to be used with a variety of antigens for different immunotherapy purposes.