Mucosal Vaccination

Most infectious agents enter the body at mucosal surfaces and therefore mucosal immune responses function as a first line of defence. Protective mucosal immune responses are most effectively induced by mucosal immunization through oral, nasal, rectal or vaginal routes, but the vast majority of vaccines in use today are administered by injection. Immunisation involves the delivery of antigens to the mucosal immune system (dispersed or organised into units such as Peyer’s patches in the intestine or the nasal-associated lymphoid tissue in the oropharangeal cavity). The antigen delivery systems may comprise a simple buffer solution with/without adjuvants or an advanced particulate formulation, such as liposomes or nanoparticles. The most commonly evaluated route for mucosal antigen delivery is oral, but other routes have also been explored.

The mucous membranes covering the aerodigestive and the urogenital tracts as well as the eye conjunctiva, the inner ear and the ducts of all exocrine glands are endowed with powerful mechanical and chemical cleansing mechanisms that degrade and repel most foreign matter. In addition, a large and highly specialized innate and adaptive mucosal immune system protects these surfaces, and thereby also the body interior, against potential insults from the environment.

  • Immunisation
  • Responses
  • Limitations
  • Advantages

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