Immunomodulators as adjuvants for vaccines and antimicrobial therapy

Erin F. Nicholls, Laurence Madera, Robert Hancock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

59 Citations (Scopus)


A highly effective strategy for combating infectious diseases is to enhance host defenses using immunomodulators, either preventatively, through vaccination, or therapeutically. The effectiveness of many vaccines currently in use is due in part to adjuvants, molecules that have little immunogenicity by themselves but which help enhance and appropriately skew the immune response to an antigen. The development of new vaccines necessitates the development of new types of adjuvants to ensure an appropriate immune response. Herein, we review commonly used vaccine adjuvants and discuss promising adjuvant candidates. We also discuss various other immunomodulators (namely cytokines, Toll-like receptor agonists, and host defense peptides) that are, or have potential to be, useful for antimicrobial therapies that exert their effects by boosting host immune responses rather than targeting pathogens directly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-61
Number of pages16
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Adjuvant
  • Antimicrobial
  • Immunomodulator
  • Vaccine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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