Adjuvant properties of mesoporous silica particles tune the development of effector T cells

Helen Vallhov, Natalia Kupferschmidt, Susanne Gabrielsson, Staffan Paulie, Maria Strømme, Alfonso E. Garcia-Bennett, Annika Scheynius*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

48 Citations (Scopus)


Alum is the most frequently used adjuvant today, primarily inducing Th2 responses. However, Th1-type responses are often desirable within immune therapy, and therefore the development of new adjuvants is greatly needed. Mesoporous silica particles with a highly ordered pore structure have properties that make them very interesting for future controlled drug delivery systems, such as controllable particle and pore size; they also have the ability to induce minor immune modulatory effects, as previously demonstrated on human-monocyte-derived dendritic cells (MDDCs). In this study, mesoporous silica particles are shown to be efficiently engulfed by MDDCs within 2 h, probably by phagocytic uptake, as seen by confocal microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. A co-culture protocol is developed to evaluate the capability of MDDCs to stimulate the development of naïve CD4+ T cells in different directions. The method, involving ELISpot as a readout system, demonstrates that MDDCs, after exposure to mesoporous silica particles (AMS-6 and SBA-15), are capable of tuning autologous naïve T cells into different effector cells. Depending on the size and functionalization of the particles added to the cells, different cytokine patterns are detected. This suggests that mesoporous silica particles can be used as delivery vehicles with tunable adjuvant properties, which may be of importance for several medical applications, such as immune therapy and vaccination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2116-2124
Number of pages9
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • adjuvants
  • dendritic cells
  • immunology
  • mesoporous silica particles
  • naïve T cells

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