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Crit Rev Immunol. 2001;21(1-3):103-20.

The potential of CpG oligodeoxynucleotides as mucosal adjuvants.

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Colney Pharmaceutical Group, Ottawa, Canada.


The development of mucosal vaccines for humans has been hindered by the lack of safe yet effective mucosal adjuvants. Bacterial toxins are commonly used as adjuvants in animal models, but they are too toxic for use in humans. A novel class of adjuvant is CpG DNA, which contains unmethylated CpG dinucleotides in particular base contexts (CpG motifs). CpG DNA is most often coadministered with antigen in the form of synthetic oligodeoxynucleotides (CpG ODN), which are made with a nuclease-resistant phosphorothioate backbone. The vast majority of studies using CpG DNA as adjuvant have been with parenteral delivery; recently, however, mucosal immunization with CpG DNA as adjuvant has also been shown to induce both systemic (humoral and cellular) and mucosal antigen-specific immune responses. This review will highlight the recent uses of CpG DNA as an adjuvant at mucosal surfaces.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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