Controlled Delivery of Single or Multiple Antigens in Tolerogenic Nanoparticles Using Peptide-Polymer Bioconjugates

Ryan M. Pearson, Liam M. Casey, Kevin R. Hughes, Leon Z. Wang, Madeleine G. North, Daniel R. Getts, Stephen D. Miller, Lonnie D. Shea*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Polymeric nanoparticles (NPs) have demonstrated their potential to induce antigen (Ag)-specific immunological tolerance in multiple immune models and are at various stages of commercial development. Association of Ag with NPs is typically achieved through surface coupling or encapsulation methods. However, these methods have limitations that include high polydispersity, uncontrollable Ag loading and release, and possible immunogenicity. Here, using antigenic peptides conjugated to poly(lactide-co-glycolide), we developed Ag-polymer conjugate NPs (acNPs) with modular loading of single or multiple Ags, negligible burst release, and minimally exposed surface Ag. Tolerogenic responses of acNPs were studied in vitro to decouple the role of NP size, concentration, and Ag loading on regulatory T cell (Treg) induction. CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ Treg induction was dependent on NP size, but CD25 expression of CD4+ T cells was not. NP concentration and Ag loading could be modulated to achieve maximal levels of Treg induction. In relapsing-remitting experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (R-EAE), a murine model of multiple sclerosis, acNPs were effective in inhibiting disease induced by a single peptide or multiple peptides. The acNPs provide a simple, modular, and well-defined platform, and the NP physicochemical properties offer potential to design and answer complex mechanistic questions surrounding NP-induced tolerance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1655-1664
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Therapy
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 5 2017


  • autoimmune disease
  • bioconjugation
  • drug delivery
  • immune tolerance
  • multiple sclerosis
  • nanoparticle
  • regulatory T cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery


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