Adjuvant Reagents

Nonliving vaccine antigens, which are either purified native proteins or recombinant subunits, are often poorly immunogenic and require additional components to help stimulate protective immunity. Adjuvants are mixtures of natural or synthetic compounds that, when administered with antigens, enhance the immune response. When mixed with an immunogen, they potentiate the immune response resulting in the need for either a smaller quantity of antigen or fewer doses, or both.

Adjuvants may enhance immunity to vaccines and experimental antigens by a variety of mechanisms:
  • They can increase the immunogenicity of weak antigens
  • They can enhance the speediness and duration of immune response
  • They can stimulate and modulate humoral responses
  • They can stimulate cell-mediated immunity
  • They can improve induction of mucosal immunity
  • They can enhance the immune response in poorly responsive elderly or immunosuppressed population
  • They can significantly reduce the dose of antigen required to elicit immune response.

Adjuvants have four main modes of action: enhanced antigen uptake and localization, extended antigen release, macrophage activation, and T and B cell stimulation. The most commonly used adjuvants fall into six categories: mineral salts, oil emulsions, microbacterial products, saponins, synthetic products and cytokines. Table I gives examples of various adjuvants and their properties. Applications are given in Table II.

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S6322 Sigma Adjuvant System® oil
F5881 Freund’s Adjuvant, Complete cell suspension
F5506 Freund’s Adjuvant, Incomplete liquid
H7017 Hemocyanin from Megathura crenulata (keyhole limpet)
H8283 Hemocyanin from Megathura crenulata (keyhole limpet) PBS solution
B8556 Hemocyanin from mollusk buffered aqueous solution
B7542 Maleimide Activated BSA
P2870 Pristane synthetic, ≥98% (GC)
P9622 Pristane synthetic, liquid, sterile-filtered, BioReagent
H4397 TiterMax® Classic Adjuvant liquid
T2684 TiterMax® Gold Adjuvant liquid