Skin immunization by microneedle patch overcomes statin-induced suppression of flu vaccine response in mice

December 21, 2017 by Nadia Lelutiu, Emory University

Statin therapy is prescribed for 20 percent of the US population over the age of 40 and nearly 50 percent of the population over 75 years old to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by lowering blood cholesterol levels. Although statins have become a common treatment for elderly individuals at risk of coronary disease, the impact of statin use on immune responses to vaccines has been given little attention.

Recent studies have found that in , statin therapy is associated with a reduced response to influenza vaccination. Higher rates of influenza-related respiratory illness have also been reported in vaccinated statin-users compared to vaccinated non-users. This information is concerning because the aged population is already at high risk for morbidity and mortality caused by influenza, due in part to immunosenescence, or diminishing effectiveness of the immune system over time. Thus, finding a way to overcome statin-induced suppression of immune response to vaccination in older individuals is an important goal.

A new study published in Scientific Reports and led by Elena Vassilieva, Ph.D., and Richard Compans, Ph.D., at Emory University School of Medicine used a mouse model to investigate the effect of on immune responses to . They observed that long-term in aged mice reduced the immune response when influenza vaccine was administered using a standard hypodermic needle. However, the response was enhanced up to 20-fold if vaccine was administered through the skin using dissolving microneedles, a technology developed by Mark Prausnitz, Ph.D., and colleagues at Georgia Tech.

The skin immunization induces a stronger compared to the traditional injection with a needle. The microneedles are made of a dissolving polymer incorporating the vaccine, delivering it to the body through skin cells, rather than being injected into the muscle. Earlier this year, a successful human Phase I clinical trial was conducted in which the seasonal influenza vaccine was administered using microneedle patches. The present study indicates that the microneedle patch technology can be useful as an approach to counteract statin-induced immune suppression in the aging population.

Explore further: Microneedle patches for flu vaccination prove successful in first human clinical trial

More information: Elena V. Vassilieva et al. Skin immunization by microneedle patch overcomes statin-induced suppression of immune responses to influenza vaccine, Scientific Reports (2017). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-18140-0

Related Stories

Microneedle patches for flu vaccination prove successful in first human clinical trial

June 27, 2017
Despite the potentially severe consequences of illness and even death, only about 40 percent of adults in the United States receive flu shots each year; however, researchers believe a new self-administered, painless vaccine ...

Studies raise questions about impact of statins on flu vaccination in seniors

October 29, 2015
A new pair of studies suggests that statins, drugs widely used to reduce cholesterol, may have a detrimental effect on the immune response to influenza vaccine and the vaccine's effectiveness at preventing serious illness ...

Microneedle vaccine patch boosts flu protection through robust skin cell immune response

March 6, 2012
Recent research found that microneedle vaccine patches are more effective at delivering protection against influenza virus in mice than subcutaneous or intramuscular inoculation. A new, detailed analysis of the early immune ...

Why statin users should still get the flu shot, even if cholesterol drugs make it less effective

February 18, 2016
Every year in the United States, about 226,000 people are hospitalized because of the flu, and 23,000 die. And about 80-90 percent of flu-related deaths occur in people over 65 years old.

Study shows H1N1 microneedle vaccine protects better than injection

July 12, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- A vaccine delivered to the skin using a microneedle patch gives better protection against the H1N1 influenza virus than a vaccine delivered through subcutaneous or intramuscular injection, researchers ...

Recommended for you

Bystander T cells can steal the show in resolving inflammation

March 23, 2018
In Type 1 diabetes the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys insulin-producing pancreatic cells, leaving patients dependent on lifelong insulin injections. The putative perpetrators of the attack—which are called ...

Researchers discover a 'security chief' that sounds the alarm against infections

March 23, 2018
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital scientists have identified a key molecule that serves as a "security chief" to help the immune system quickly recognize and fight infections with dangerous gram-negative bacteria like ...

Whether the donor and recipient are male or female influences transplant rejection rates—investigators explore why

March 22, 2018
Biological sex differences can have far-reaching, clinical consequences, as illustrated by organ transplant outcomes. Men and women who receive donated organs can have different rates of transplant rejection, in some cases ...

Mumps resurgence likely due to waning vaccine-derived immunity

March 21, 2018
A resurgence of mumps in the U.S. among vaccinated young adults appears to be due to waning of vaccine-induced immunity, according to a new analysis from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Researchers found that vaccine-derived ...

How allergens trigger asthma attacks

March 19, 2018
A team of Inserm and CNRS researchers from the Institute of Pharmacology and Structural Biology have identified a protein that acts like a sensor detecting allergens in the respiratory tract that are responsible for asthma ...

Single steroid-bronchodilator treatment for control and rescue improves persistent asthma

March 19, 2018
When it comes to treating teens and adults with persistent asthma, using a single corticosteroid and long-acting bronchodilator treatment for both daily asthma control and for rescue relief during sudden asthma attacks is ...


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.