Toll-like receptor (TLR) agonists are promising adjuvants and the combination of TLR agonists enhance immune responses by providing synergistic immune activity via triggering different signalling pathways. However, systematic cytotoxicity due to the immediate release of such immune potentiators from the site of injection hampers its clinical performance. Nanostructured lipid carriers (NLCs) offer a possibility to incorporate multiple TLR agonists with high encapsulation efficiency and slow drug release. Herein, we synthesized NLCs from didodecyldimethylammonium bromide (D12DAB) and oleic acid and used these to co-encapsulate a Pam2CS derivative (T-2, TLR2 agonist) with an imidazoquinoline derivative (T-7, TLR7 agonist) as a combination vaccine adjuvant. Hydrodynamic diameter and zeta potential of the prepared NLCs were found to be in the range of 200–500 nm and 23–27 mV, respectively. Spherical shape and size of prepared NLCs were also assessed through Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscopy (FE-SEM) and Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) analysis. In-vitro release studies of T-7 demonstrated sustained release and the addition of lipopeptide T-2 augmented encapsulation efficiency (from 84 to 92.9%) with a slight trigger in the release percentage. All NLC formulations were screened in TLR2/1, TLR2/6, TLR7 and TLR8 reporter cell lines and loaded NLC formulation showed high TLR2 and TLR7 agonistic activity. Adjuvant potency was evaluated through intramuscular immunization of female C57BL/6 mice with recombinant hepatitis B surface antigen and influenza hemagglutinin protein. T-2 and T-7 loaded NLCs induced good protective efficacy in mice challenged with a lethal dose of influenza virus.
- Nanostructured lipid carriers
- TLR agonist
- Toll-like receptors
- Vaccine adjuvant