Human prophylactic vaccine adjuvants and their determinant role in new vaccine formulations

O. Perez, A. Batista-Duharte, E. Gonzalez, C. Zayas, J. Balbao, M. Cuello, O. Cabrera, M. Lastre, V.E.J.C. Schijns

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42 Citations (Scopus)


Adjuvants have been considered for a long time to be an accessory and empirical component of vaccine formulations. However, accumulating evidence of their crucial role in initiating and directing the immune response has increased our awareness of the importance of adjuvant research in the past decade. Nevertheless, the importance of adjuvants still is not fully realized by many researchers working in the vaccine field, who are involved mostly in the search for better target antigens. The choice of a proper adjuvant can be determinant for obtaining the best results for a given vaccine candidate, but it is restricted due to intellectual property and know-how issues. Consequently, in most cases the selected adjuvant continues to be the aluminum salt, which has a record of safety, but predominantly constitutes a delivery system (DS). Ideally, new strategies should combine immune potentiators (IP) and DS by mixing both compounds or by obtaining structures that contain both IP and DS. In addition, the term immune polarizer has been introduced as an essential concept in the vaccine design strategies. Here, we review the theme, with emphasis on the discussion of the few licensed new adjuvants, the need for safe mucosal adjuvants and the adjuvant/immunopotentiating activity of conjugation. A summary of toxicology and regulatory issues will also be discussed, and the Finlay Adjuvant Platform is briefly summarized.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)681-692
JournalBrazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • guillain-barre-syndrome
  • adaptive immunity
  • influenza vaccine
  • dendritic cells
  • subclass restriction
  • antibody-responses
  • innate immunity
  • t-cells
  • aluminum
  • inflammasome


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