Tattooing improves response to DNA vaccine

Feb 07, 2008

A tattoo can be more than just a fashion statement – it has potential medical value, according to an article published in the online open access journal, Genetic Vaccines and Therapy.

Martin Müller and his team at the Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum (German Cancer Research Center), Heidelberg, Germany, have shown that tattooing is a more effective way of delivering DNA vaccines than intramuscular injection. Using a coat protein from the human papillomavirus (HPV, the cause of cervical cancer) as a model DNA vaccine antigen, they compared delivery by tattooing the skin of mice with standard intramuscular injection with, and without, the molecular adjuvants that are often given to boost immune response.

The tattoo method gave a stronger humoral (antibody) response and cellular response than intramuscular injection, even when adjuvants were included in the latter. Three doses of DNA vaccine given by tattooing produced at least 16 times higher antibody levels than three intramuscular injections with adjuvant. The adjuvants enhanced the effect of intramuscular injection, but not of tattooing.

Tattooing is an invasive procedure done with a solid vibrating needle, causing a wound and sufficient inflammation to ‘prime’ the immune system. It also covers a bigger area of the skin than an injection, so the DNA vaccine can enter more cells. These effects may account for the stronger immune response arising from introducing a DNA vaccine into the body by tattooing. Of course, the tattooing approach may not be to everyone’s taste – as it is likely to hurt – but the researchers believe that it could have a role in, for instance, routine vaccination of cattle or in delivering therapeutic (rather than prophylactic) vaccines to humans.

‘Vaccination with naked DNA has been hampered by its low efficiency’ says Müller. ‘Delivery of DNA via tattooing could be a way for a more widespread commercial application of DNA vaccines’

Source: BioMed Central

Explore further: Supplement maker admits lying about ingredients

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Space plants on way back to earth

25 minutes ago

Farming in deep space is explored in the recent movie "Interstellar," but a University of Mississippi biologist's research program appears to be bringing the sci-fi scenario closer to reality.

How to teach all students to think critically

15 minutes ago

All first year students at the University of Technology Sydney could soon be required to take a compulsory maths course in an attempt to give them some numerical thinking skills. ...

Confucian thought and China's environmental dilemmas

38 minutes ago

Conventional wisdom holds that China - the world's most populous country - is an inveterate polluter, that it puts economic goals above conservation in every instance. So China's recent moves toward an apparent ...

Deforestation threatens species richness in streams

55 minutes ago

With a population of 1.3 billion, China is under immense pressure to convert suitable areas into arable land in order to ensure a continued food supply for its people. Accordingly, China is among the top ...

Recommended for you

Supplement maker admits lying about ingredients

14 hours ago

Federal prosecutors say the owner and president of a dietary supplement company has admitted his role in the sale of diluted and adulterated dietary ingredients and supplements sold by his company.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.