Lipid-based nanoparticles (NPs) with a small amount of surface-chelated nickel (Ni-NPs) were developed to easily formulate the HIV his-tagged Tat protein, as well as to formulate and co-deliver two HIV antigens (his-p24 and his-Nef) on one particle. Female BALB/c mice were immunized by s.c. injection with his-Tat/Ni-NP formulation (1.5 μg Tat-his/mouse) and control formulations on day 0 and 14. The day 28 anti-Tat specific IgG titer with his-Tat/Ni-NP was significantly greater than that with Alum/his-Tat. Furthermore, splenocytes from his-Tat/Ni-NP immunized mice secreted significantly higher IFN-γ than those from mice immunized with Alum/his-Tat. Although Ni-NPs did not show better adjuvant activity than Tat-coated anionic NPs made with sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS/NPs), they were less toxic than SDS/NPs. The initial results indicated that co-immunization of mice using his-p24/his-Nef/Ni-NP induced greater antibody response compared to using Alum/his-p24/his-Nef. Co-delivery of two antigens using Ni-NPs also increased the immunogenicity of individual antigens compared to delivery of a single antigen by Ni-NPs. In conclusion, Ni-NPs are an efficient delivery system for HIV vaccines including both single antigen delivery and multiple antigen co-delivery.

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Published in HIV/AIDS - Research and Palliative Care, v. 1, p. 1-11.

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