Immunopotentiation the need for adjuvants

The term adjuvant is widely used to describe potentiating effects that may be specific or nonspecific. The term vehicle is sometimes used to describe the way in which the antigen is presented. The final mode of presentation has been called the antigen formulation. The only adjuvant licensed for general medical use is alum, which was first used over 50 years ago.

A great variety of materials have been shown to have adjuvant activity, but with increasing knowledge of immune mechanisms and especially the role of lymphokines, it became clear that an adjuvant should preferentially have three functions:

• the formation of a depot at primarily the site of application;

• the presentation or delivery of antigen to cells involved in the immune response, principally antigen-presenting cells; and

• the synthesis and secretion of cytokines which

Table 2 Some adjuvant formulations under trial and their activities in terms of antigen depot, delivery to antigen-presenting cells (APCs) and factor activation

Preparation Depot Delivery Factor activation

Table 2 Some adjuvant formulations under trial and their activities in terms of antigen depot, delivery to antigen-presenting cells (APCs) and factor activation

Preparation Depot Delivery Factor activation

Alum

+

?

?

Algammulin

+

?

+

Mineral oils

+

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