Oral delivery of lipid-encapsulated Mycobacterium bovis BCG extends survival of the bacillus in vivo and induces a long-term protective immune response against tuberculosis.Vaccine 2006; 24(12):2071-8V
The success of oral-route vaccination using Mycobacterium bovis bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) relies on delivery of live, actively metabolising bacilli to confer protection. Here, we describe that lipid-microencapsulation can extend the in vivo survival of bacilli when fed to mice, and can induce a long-lasting protective immune response. Feeding mice with lipid-encapsulated BCG (L-BCG) resulted in greater recovery of viable BCG bacilli from the mesenteric lymph nodes (MLN) compared to mice fed non-encapsulated BCG. A time-course study indicated persistence of viable BCG bacilli in MLN up to 30 weeks post-vaccination, similar to the duration of viable BCG recovery from the spleen following subcutaneous vaccination. The persistence of viable bacilli in the MLN of L-BCG mice invoked long-lasting systemic cell-mediated immune reactivity, with responses similar to those observed in subcutaneously-vaccinated mice. Further, L-BCG-vaccinated mice showed a high degree of protection against aerogenic challenge with virulent M. bovis at 30 weeks post-vaccination, with significant reductions in lung and spleen pathogen burdens. This study identifies that lipid-encapsulation of live BCG bacilli can facilitate increased in vivo survival and immunogenicity of the vaccine in orally-vaccinated mice, and highlights protection via this route for up to 7 months post-immunisation.