Pharmaceutical Research

, Volume 30, Issue 2, pp 325–341 | Cite as

Nanocarriers Targeting Dendritic Cells for Pulmonary Vaccine Delivery

  • Nitesh K. Kunda
  • Satyanarayana Somavarapu
  • Stephen B. Gordon
  • Gillian A. Hutcheon
  • Imran Y. SaleemEmail author
Expert Review


Pulmonary vaccine delivery has gained significant attention as an alternate route for vaccination without the use of needles. Immunization through the pulmonary route induces both mucosal and systemic immunity, and the delivery of antigens in a dry powder state can overcome some challenges such as cold-chain and availability of medical personnel compared to traditional liquid-based vaccines. Antigens formulated as nanoparticles (NPs) reach the respiratory airways of the lungs providing greater chance of uptake by relevant immune cells. In addition, effective targeting of antigens to the most ‘professional’ antigen presenting cells (APCs), the dendritic cells (DCs) yields an enhanced immune response and the use of an adjuvant further augments the generated immune response thus requiring less antigen/dosage to achieve vaccination. This review discusses the pulmonary delivery of vaccines, methods of preparing NPs for antigen delivery and targeting, the importance of targeting DCs and different techniques involved in formulating dry powders suitable for inhalation.


antigen presenting cells dendritic cells dry powder polymeric nanoparticles pulmonary delivery of vaccines 



alveolar macrophages


antigen presenting cells


bronchoalveolar lavage


C-type lectin receptors


dendritic cells


dry powder inhalations




human leukocyte antigen




lymph node


major histocompatibility complex








polyethylene glycol




polylactide or poly-L-lactic acid


poly lactic-co-glycolic-acid


pattern recognition receptors


polyvinyl alcohol


supercritical fluid




spray-freeze drying


toll-like receptors


N-trimethyl chitosan


virus-like particles


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nitesh K. Kunda
    • 1
  • Satyanarayana Somavarapu
    • 2
  • Stephen B. Gordon
    • 3
  • Gillian A. Hutcheon
    • 1
  • Imran Y. Saleem
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Formulation and Drug Delivery Research School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular ScienceLiverpool John Moores UniversityLiverpoolUK
  2. 2.Department of Pharmaceutics, School of PharmacyUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  3. 3.Respiratory Infection GroupLiverpool School of Tropical MedicineLiverpoolUK

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