Preparation of Poly-Lactic-Co-Glycolic Acid Nanoparticles in a Dry Powder Formulation for Pulmonary Antigen Delivery

One of the key requirements for successful vaccination via the mucosa is particulate antigen uptake. Poly-lactic-co-glycolic acid (PLGA) particles were chosen as well-known model carriers and ovalbumin (OVA) as the model antigen. Aiming at application to the respiratory tract, which allows direct interaction of the formulation with the mucosal immune system, this work focuses on the feasibility of delivering the antigen in a nanoparticulate carrier within a powder capable of pulmonary delivery. Further requirements were adequate antigen encapsulation in order to use the characteristics of the particulate carrier for (tunable) antigen release, and capability of the production process for industrialisation (realisation in industry). For an effective particulate antigen uptake, nanoparticles with a size of around 300 nm were prepared. For this, two production methods for nanoparticles, solvent change precipitation and the double emulsion method, were evaluated with respect to antigen incorporation, transfer to a dry powder formulation, redispersion and antigen release characteristics. A spray drying step was included in the production procedure in order to obtain a respirable powder with an aerodynamic particle size of between 0.5 and 5 μm. The dried products were characterised for particle size, dispersibility and aerodynamic behaviour, as well as for immune response and cytotoxicity in cell culture models. It could be shown that the double emulsion method is suitable to prepare nanoparticles (270 nm) and to incorporate the antigen. By modifying the production method to prepare porous particles, it was possible to obtain an acceptable antigen release while maintaining an antigen load of about 10%. By the choice of polyvinyl alcohol as a stabiliser, nanoparticles could be dried and redispersed without further excipients and the production steps were capable of realisation in industry. Aerodynamic characteristics were good with a mass median aerodynamic diameter of 3.3 µm upon dispersion from a capsule-based inhaler.


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