Hyperthermia enhanced transdermal (HET) immunization is a novel needle free immunization strategy employing application of antigen along with mild local hyperthermia (42°C) to intact skin resulting in detectable antigen specific Ig in serum. In the present study, we investigated the adjuvant effect of thermal component of HET immunization in terms of maturation of dendritic cells and its implication on the quality of the immune outcome in terms of antibody production upon HET immunization with tetanus toxoid (TT). We have shown that in vitro hyperthermia exposure at 42°C for 30 minutes up regulates the surface expression of maturation markers on bone marrow derived DCs. This observation correlated in vivo with an increased and accelerated expression of maturation markers on DCs in the draining lymph node upon HET immunization in mice. This effect was found to be independent of the antigen delivered and depends only on the thermal component of HET immunization. In vitro hyperthermia also led to enhanced capacity to stimulate CD4+ T cells in allo MLR and promotes the secretion of IL-10 by BMDCs, suggesting a potential for Th2 skewing of T cell response. HET immunization also induced a systemic T cell response to TT, as suggested by proliferation of splenocytes from immunized animal upon in vitro stimulation by TT. Exposure to heat during primary immunization led to generation of mainly IgG class of antibodies upon boosting, similar to the use of conventional alum adjuvant, thus highlighting the adjuvant potential of heat during HET immunization. Lastly, we have shown that mice immunized by tetanus toxoid using HET route exhibited protection against challenge with a lethal dose of tetanus toxin. Thus, in addition to being a painless, needle free delivery system it also has an immune modulatory potential.
Hyperthermia is a general term used to define the increase in core body temperature above normal. It is often used to describe the increased core body temperature that is observed during fever. The use of hyperthermia as an adjuvant has emerged as a promising procedure for tumor regression in the field of cancer biology. For this purpose, the most important requirement is to have reliable and uniform heating protocols. We have developed a protocol for hyperthermia (whole body) in mice. In this protocol, animals are exposed to cycles of hyperthermia for 90 min followed by a rest period of 15 min. During this period mice have easy access to food and water. High body temperature spikes in the mice during first few hyperthermia exposure cycles are prevented by immobilizing the animal. Additionally, normal saline is administered in first few cycles to minimize the effects of dehydration. This protocol can simulate fever like conditions in mice up to 12-24 hr. We have used 8-12 weeks old BALB/Cj female mice to demonstrate the protocol.
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