Polymeric nanogels as vaccine delivery systems.
ABSTRACT Polymeric nanogels find a relevant field of application in the formulation of a new generation of therapeutic and preventive vaccines, aiming at the fine-tuned modulation of the immune response. Intrinsic properties of polymeric nanogels, such as material chemistry, size and shape, surface charge, and hydrophobicity or hydrophilicity, may be determining factors in shaping the induced immune response. These materials can thus work as synthetic adjuvants, which can also be conjugated with immunostimulants. Polymeric nanogels protect vaccine antigens from degradation in vivo and, surface-conjugated with antibodies or specific ligands, could increase active targeting specificity. This review covers the recent published data concerning the modulation of innate and adaptive immune responses by engineered polymeric nanogels and their potential application as delivery systems in vaccination.