Vaccine delivery via mucosal surfaces is an interesting alternative to parenteral vaccine administration, as it avoids the use of a needle and syringe. Mucosal vaccine administration also targets the mucosal immune system, which is the largest lymphoid tissue in the human body. The mucosal immune response involves systemic, antigen-specific humoral and cellular immune response in addition to a local response which is characterised by a predominantly cytotoxic T cell response in combination with secreted IgA. This antibody facilitates pathogen recognition and deletion prior to entrance into the body. Hence, administration via the respiratory mucosa can be favoured for all pathogens which use the respiratory tract as entry to the body, such as influenza and for all diseases directly affecting the respiratory tract such as pneumonia. Additionally, the different mucosal tissues of the human body are interconnected via the so-called “common mucosal immune system”, which allows induction of an antigen-specific immune response in distant mucosal sites. Finally, mucosal administration is also interesting in the area of therapeutic vaccination, in which a predominant cellular immune response is required, as this can efficiently be induced by this route of delivery. The review gives an introduction to respiratory vaccination, formulation approaches and application strategies.
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