A high-throughput microparticle microarray platform for dendritic cell-targeting vaccines

Abhinav P. Acharya, Michael J. Clare-Salzler, Benjamin G. Keselowsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Immunogenomic approaches combined with advances in adjuvant immunology are guiding progress toward rational design of vaccines. Furthermore, drug delivery platforms (e.g., synthetic particles) are demonstrating promise for increasing vaccine efficacy. Currently there are scores of known antigenic epitopes and adjuvants, and numerous synthetic delivery systems accessible for formulation of vaccines for various applications. However, the lack of an efficient means to test immune cell responses to the abundant combinations available represents a significant blockade on the development of new vaccines. In order to overcome this barrier, we report fabrication of a new class of microarray consisting of antigen/adjuvant-loadable poly(d,l lactide-co-glycolide) microparticles (PLGA MPs), identified as a promising carrier for immunotherapeutics, which are co-localized with dendritic cells (DCs), key regulators of the immune system and prime targets for vaccines. The intention is to utilize this high-throughput platform to optimize particle-based vaccines designed to target DCs in vivo for immune system-related disorders, such as autoimmune diseases, cancer and infection. Fabrication of DC/MP arrays leverages the use of standard contact printing miniarraying equipment in conjunction with surface modification to achieve co-localization of particles/cells on isolated islands while providing background non-adhesive surfaces to prevent off-island cell migration. We optimized MP overspotting pin diameter, accounting for alignment error, to allow construction of large, high-fidelity arrays. Reproducible, quantitative delivery of as few as 16 ± 2 MPs per spot was demonstrated and two-component MP dosing arrays were constructed, achieving MP delivery which was independent of formulation, with minimal cross-contamination. Furthermore, quantification of spotted, surface-adsorbed MP degradation was demonstrated, potentially useful for optimizing MP release properties. Finally, we demonstrate DC co-localization with PLGA MPs on isolated islands and that DCs do not migrate between islands for up to 24 h. Using this platform, we intend to analyze modulation of DC function by providing multi-parameter combinatorial cues in the form of proteins, peptides and other immuno-modulatory molecules encapsulated in or tethered on MPs. Critically, the miniaturization attained enables high-throughput investigation of rare cell populations by reducing the requirement for cells and reagents by many-fold, facilitating advances in personalized vaccines which target DCs in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4168-4177
Number of pages10
Issue number25
StatePublished - Sep 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Dendritic cell
  • High-throughput
  • Microarray
  • Microparticle
  • Miniarray
  • Vaccine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Bioengineering
  • Biophysics
  • Biomaterials


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