Immunology of Vaccine Adjuvants

  • Carla M.S. Ribeiro
  • Virgil E.J.C. Schijns
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 626)


In recent times vaccine adjuvants, or immunopotentiators, received abundant attention in the media as critical ingredients of current and future vaccines. Indeed, vaccine adjuvants are recognized to make the difference between competing vaccines based on identical antigens. Moreover, it is recognized that vaccines designed for certain indications require a matching combination of selected antigen(s) together with a critical immunopotentiator that selectively drives the required immune pathway with minimal adverse reactions. Recently, the mechanistic actions of some immunopotentiators have become clearer as a result of research focused on innate immunity receptors. These insights enable more rational adjuvant and vaccine design, which, ideally, is based on predictable immunophenotypes following vaccination.

This chapter addresses immunopotentiators, classed according to their (presumed) mechanisms of action. They are categorized functionally in two major groups as facilitators of signal 1 and/or signal 2. The mode(s) of action of some well-known adjuvant prototypes is discussed in the context of this classification.

Key words

Adjuvant signal 1 signal 2 stranger danger 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Cell Biology & ImmunologyWageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands

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