Mucosal Immunology (2008) 1, 489–496; doi:10.1038/mi.2008.59; published online 24 September 2008

Pulmonary delivery of ISCOMATRIX influenza vaccine induces both systemic and mucosal immunity with antigen dose sparing

J L K Wee1,3, J-P Y Scheerlinck1,3, K J Snibson1, S Edwards2, M Pearse2, C Quinn2 and P Sutton1

  1. 1Centre for Animal Biotechnology, School of Veterinary Science, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
  2. 2Research and Development, CSL Limited, Parkville, Australia

Correspondence: P Sutton, (

3Joint first authors. Both authors contributed equally to this work.

Received 8 April 2008; Accepted 8 August 2008; Published online 24 September 2008.



Using a large animal model, we evaluated whether delivery of influenza vaccine via its mucosal site of infection could improve vaccine effectiveness. Unexpectedly, pulmonary immunization with extremely low antigen doses (0.04 mug influenza) induced serum antibody levels equivalent to those resulting from a current human vaccine equivalent (15 mug unadjuvanted influenza, subcutaneously) and vastly superior lung mucosal antibodies. Induction of this potent response following lung vaccination was dependent on addition of ISCOMATRIX adjuvant and deep lung delivery. Functional antibody activity, marked by hemagglutination inhibition, was only present in the lungs of animals that received adjuvanted vaccine via the lungs, suggesting this approach could potentially translate to improved protection. The 375-fold reduction in antigen dose and improved mucosal antibody responses, compared to the current vaccine, suggests that mucosal delivery via the pulmonary route may be particularly relevant in the event of an influenza pandemic, when vaccine supplies are unlikely to meet demand.