Potent immunological adjuvants are urgently required to complement recombinant and synthetic vaccines. However, it has not been possible to derive new principles for the design of vaccine adjuvants from knowledge of the mechanism of immunogenicity. Carbonyl-amino condensations, which are essential to the inductive interaction between antigen-presenting cells and T helper cells, were tested as a target for the enhancement of immune responses. Enzymic oxidation of cell-surface galactose to increase aminereactive carbonyl groups on murine lymphocytes and antigen-presenting cells provided a potent, noninflammatory method of enhancing the immunogenicity of viral, bacterial, and protozoal subunit vaccines in mice.

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