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J Immunol. 1999 May 15;162(10):6141-7.

IL-1 is an effective adjuvant for mucosal and systemic immune responses when coadministered with protein immunogens.

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  • 1Departments of Medicine and Immunology, Center for AIDS Research, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.


Mucosal immunization with soluble protein Ag alone may induce Ag-specific tolerance, whereas mucosal immunization with Ag in the presence of a mucosal adjuvant may induce Ag-specific systemic and mucosal humoral and cell-mediated immune responses. The most widely used and studied mucosal adjuvant is cholera toxin (CT). Although the mechanism of adjuvanticity of CT is not completely understood, it is known that CT induces mucosal epithelial cells to produce the proinflammatory cytokines IL-1, IL-6, and IL-8 and up-regulates macrophage production of IL-1 and the costimulatory molecule B7.2. Because IL-1 may duplicate many of the activities of CT, we evaluated IL-1alpha and IL-1beta for their ability to serve as mucosal adjuvants when intranasally administered with soluble protein Ags. IL-1alpha and IL-1beta were as effective as CT for the induction of Ag-specific serum IgG, vaginal IgG and IgA, systemic delayed-type hypersensitivity, and lymphocyte proliferative responses when intranasally administered with soluble protein Ag. Our results indicate that IL-1alpha and IL-1beta may be useful as mucosal vaccine adjuvants. Such an adjuvant may be useful, and possibly required, for vaccine-mediated protection against pathogens that infect via the mucosal surfaces of the host such as HIV.

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