Mucosal immunity plays a significant role in the first-line defense against viruses transmitted and infected through the respiratory system, such as SARS-CoV-2. However, the lack of effective and safe adjuvants currently limits the development of COVID-19 mucosal vaccines. In the current study, we prepare an intranasal vaccine containing cationic crosslinked carbon dots (CCD) and a SARS-CoV-2 antigen, RBD-HR with spontaneous antigen particlization. Intranasal immunization with CCD/RBD-HR induces high levels of antibodies with broad-spectrum neutralization against authentic viruses/pseudoviruses of Omicron-included variants and protects immunized female BALB/c mice from Omicron infection. Despite strong systemic cellular immune response stimulation, the intranasal CCD/RBD-HR vaccine also induces potent mucosal immunity as determined by the generation of tissue-resident T cells in the lungs and airway. Moreover, CCD/RBD-HR not only activates professional antigen-presenting cells (APCs), dendritic cells, but also effectively targets nasal epithelial cells, promotes antigen binding via sialic acid, and surprisingly provokes the antigen-presenting of nasal epithelial cells. We demonstrate that CCD is a promising intranasal vaccine adjuvant for provoking strong mucosal immunity and might be a candidate adjuvant for intranasal vaccine development for many types of infectious diseases, including COVID-19.

Fuente: Nature Communications

Published: 09 May 2023