Mucosal Vaccines

Volume 354 of the series Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology pp 1-18


Mucosal Delivery Routes for Optimal Immunization: Targeting Immunity to the Right Tissues

  • C. CzerkinskyAffiliated withInternational Vaccine Institute Email author 
  • , J. HolmgrenAffiliated withInstitute of Biomedicine, Sahlgrenska Academy at Gothenburg University

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The mucosal immune system exhibits a high degree of anatomic compartmentalization related to the migratory patterns of lymphocytes activated at different mucosal sites. The selective localization of mucosal lymphocytes to specific tissues is governed by cellular “homing” and chemokine receptors in conjunction with tissue-specific addressins and epithelial cell-derived chemokines that are differentially expressed in “effector” tissues. The compartmentalization of mucosal immune responses imposes constraints on the selection of vaccine administration route. Traditional routes of mucosal immunization include oral and nasal routes. Other routes for inducing mucosal immunity include the rectal, vaginal, sublingual, and transcutaneous routes. Sublingual administration is a new approach that results in induction of mucosal and systemic T cell and antibody responses with an exceptionally broad dissemination to different mucosae, including the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts, and the genital mucosa. Here, we discuss how sublingual and different routes of immunization can be used to generate immune responses in the desired mucosal tissue(s).