Design of solid dosage forms for mucosal vaccination - Investigations on the influence of excipients on product performance

University dissertation from Chalmers University of Technology

Abstract: Most vaccines today are liquid formulations for parental administration. However, there are several drawbacks connected to these vaccines. Since injectable vaccines only induce systemic antibody responses, they are not effective against the various pathogens that affect mucosal surfaces with poor permeability for serum-derived antibodies, e.g. the small intestine. Further disadvantages of liquid injectable vaccines are the need for medical personnel for the administration, cold chain requirements and large packaging sizes, which all are especially negative factors in developing countries. Solid and preferably mucoadhesive vaccine formulations that are administered via mucosal surfaces would offer a good alternative to many of these problems. The aim of this thesis was therefore to study the influence of excipients in the design of such formulations regarding i) formulation-related properties (mucoadhesion and antigen release) and ii) antigen-functionality preservation during freeze-dying. Mechanistic and immunological investigations using mucoadhesive hydrophilic matrix tablets as potential formulations for sublingual immunization were performed. The effect of osmotic pressure differences on the adhesiveness of hydrophilic swelling matrix tablets was investigated and it was found that a decrease in the osmotic pressure difference resulted in a decrease in the adhesive force, i.e. the force required to detach the tablet from a wet surface. Release of the model antigen ovalbumin from hydrophilic matrix tablets and a fast releasing formulation was characterized. The Bradford Assay used for the protein quantification was found to be disturbed by the hydrophilic polymer Carbopol and a correction method was set up. Sublingual immunizations in BALB/c mice indicated a poor potential of all ER tablets to evoke intestinal immune responses, whereas an immediate release resulted in high antibody titres. Thus it was concluded that the latter formulation type should be preferred in sublingual immunization. In the second part of the thesis the stabilizing potential of different excipients during freeze-drying was tested on killed whole-cell Vibrio cholerae bacteria as a model vaccine for pathogens causing mucosal infections. Sucrose showed great potential to avoid bacterial aggregation, preserve important antigen structures and to maintain the immunogenicity of the bacteria. Hopefully, the presented findings are a help and inspiration for formulators and immunologists to develop mucosal vaccine formulations so that diseases for which today no vaccines exist can be prevented in all parts of the world.

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