A vaccine designed to help protect against salmonella bacteria is one step closer to reality thanks to research by scientists at the University of Florida. According to a newly published study from the team, particles called extracellular vesicles (EVs), which cells use to communicate with each other, may hold the key to new types of vaccines.
The study, which was led by the university’s Mariola Edelmann, looked into whether a type of EVs known as exosomes may play a role in how the body fights salmonella, a bacteria that can be transmitted on food and from animals. Based on this idea, the team used exosomes from white blood cells that had been infected with the bacteria.
These exosomes were found to contain salmonella antigens, the protein that results in one’s immune system mobilizing against the pathogen. By introducing these exosomes with salmonella antigens to mice, they were able to trigger the development of antibodies targeting salmonella in the rodents, as well as ‘specific cellular immune responses’ tailored toward eliminating the imposing bacteria.
This represents both innate and adaptive immunity against salmonella, according to the study, paving the way for additional work toward a possible future vaccine against the bacteria. However, the researchers caution that more work is needed before a vaccine against salmonella for humans can be developed.
Lead researchers Edelmann explained:
Our study has identified a novel role of exosomes in the protective responses against salmonella, but we also think that exosomes can find broader applications for other intestinal infections and beyond. Exosomes have this unique capability to encapsulate precious cargo while enabling its targeted delivery to tissue of interest. For many conditions and infections, this precise delivery of therapeutic payload is what makes a difference, and we are currently also evaluating exosomes in delivering cargo to other tissues of choice