Investigation of the biodistribution, breakdown and excretion of delta inulin adjuvant

Lixin Wang, Thomas Barclay, Yunmei Song, Paul Joyce, Isaac Sakala, Nikolai Petrovsky, Sanjay Garg

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    15 Citations (Scopus)


    Insoluble, nanostructured delta inulin particles enhance the immunogenicity of co-administered protein antigens and consequently are used as a vaccine adjuvant (Advax™). To better understand their immunomodulatory properties, the in vitro hydrolysis and in vivo distribution of delta inulin particles were investigated. Delta inulin particle hydrolysis under bio-relevant acidic conditions resulted in no observable change to the bulk morphology using SEM, and HPLC results showed that only 6.1% of the inulin was hydrolysed over 21 days. However, 65% of the terminal glucose groups were released, showing that acid hydrolysis relatively rapidly releases surface bound chemistries. This was used to explain in vivo biodistribution results in which delta inulin particles surface-labelled with fluorescein-5-thiosemicabizide were administered to mice using intramuscular (I.M.) or subcutaneous (S.C.) routes. Comparison analysis of the fluorescence of soluble inulin in the supernatants of homogenised tissues maintained at room temperature or heated to 100 °C to solubilise particulate inulin was used to distinguish between fluorescent probe on soluble inulin and probe bound to inulin within particles. Following both I.M. and S.C. injection delta inulin exhibited a depot behaviour with local injection site residence for several weeks. Over this time, as injection site inulin reduced, there was measurable transport of intact delta inulin particles by macrophages to secondary lymphoid organs and the liver. Ultimately, the injected delta inulin became solubilised resulting in its detection in the plasma and in the urine. Thus injected delta inulin particles are initially taken up by macrophages at the site of injection, trafficked to secondary lymphoid tissue and the liver, and hydrolysed resulting in their becoming soluble and diffusing into the blood stream, from whence they are glomerularly filtered and excreted into the urine. These results provide important insights into the biodistribution of I.M. or S.C. injected delta inulin particles when used as vaccine adjuvants and their method of excretion.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)4382-4388
    Number of pages7
    Issue number34
    Publication statusPublished - 3 Aug 2017


    • Delta inulin
    • Vaccine adjuvant
    • Biodistribution
    • Carbohydrate hydrolysis


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