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Vaccine. 2009 May 26;27(25-26):3331-4. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2009.01.084. Epub 2009 Feb 5.

Mechanism of action of licensed vaccine adjuvants.

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Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics, Via Fiorentina, 1 - 53100 Siena, Italy.


Despite the fact that alum and oil-in-water emulsions have been used for decades as human vaccine adjuvants in a large number of individuals, their mechanism of action is not completely understood. It has been reported that these particulate adjuvants act by increasing antigen availability and uptake by immune cells. However, recent work on alum and on the squalene-based emulsion MF59, has demonstrated that besides antigen delivery functions, these classes of adjuvants can also activate innate immunity pathways in vivo, generating an immunocompetent environment at injection site. Interestingly, it has been demonstrated that alum adjuvanticity depends on the activation of a protein complex called NLPR3/inflammasome, which is required for the correct processing of a number of pro-inflammatory cytokines, including IL1beta. More work needs to be performed to investigate if the inflammasome is also required for the activity of MF59 and of other particulate vaccine adjuvants.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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