An adjuvant (from Latin, adiuvare: to aid) is a pharmacological or immunological agent that modifies the effect of other agents, such as a drug or vaccine, while having few if any direct effects when given by itself. They are often included in vaccines to enhance the recipient's immune response to a supplied antigen, while keeping the injected foreign material to a minimum.[1][2]


Immunologic adjuvants

Immunologic adjuvants are added to vaccines to stimulate the immune system's response to the target antigen, but do not in themselves confer immunity. Adjuvants can act in various ways in presenting an antigen to the immune system. Adjuvants can act as a depot for the antigen, presenting the antigen over a long period of time, thus maximizing the immune response before the body clears the antigen. Examples of depot type adjuvants are oil emulsions. Adjuvants can also act as an irritant which causes the body to recruit and amplify its immune response.[3] A tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis vaccine, for example, contains minute quantities of toxins produced by each of the target bacteria, but also contains some aluminum hydroxide.[4] Such aluminum salts are common adjuvants in vaccines sold in the United States and have been used in vaccines for over 70 years.[5] The body's immune system develops an antitoxin to the bacteria's toxins, not to the aluminum, but would not respond enough without the help of the aluminum adjuvant.

Adjuvants as stabilizing agents

Although immunological adjuvants have traditionally been viewed as substances that aid the immune response to antigen, adjuvants have also evolved as substances that can aid in stabilizing formulations of antigens, especially for vaccines administered for animal health.[3]

See also


  1. ^ "ABC News: Swine Flu Vaccine: What The Heck Is an Adjuvant, Anyway? (2009)". 2009-08-11. Retrieved 2010-06-14. 
  2. ^ "Definition of immunological adjuvant -- NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms". Retrieved 2010-08-27. 
  3. ^ a b "Adjuvants as stabilizing agents". Benchmark Biolabs, Inc.. Retrieved 3 March 2011. 
  4. ^ , GlaxoSmithKline, 2009 
  5. ^ Clapp, Tanya; Siebert, Paul; Chen, Dexiang; Jones Braun, Latoya (2011). "Vaccines with aluminum-containing adjuvants: Optimizing vaccine efficacy and thermal stability". Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences 100 (2): 388–401. doi:10.1002/jps.22284. PMID 20740674. 

External links

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  • adjuvant — [ adʒyvɑ̃ ] n. m. • 1834; adj. « qui aide, auxiliaire » 1560; lat. adjuvans, p. prés. de adjuvare « aider » 1 ♦ Médicament, traitement auxiliaire, destiné à renforcer ou compléter la médication principale. ♢ Par anal. Produit que l on ajoute à un …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • adjuvant — adjuvánt s. n., pl. adjuvánte Trimis de siveco, 10.08.2004. Sursa: Dicţionar ortografic  adjuvánt adj. m., pl. adjuvánţi; f. sg. adjuvántă, pl. adjuvánte …   Dicționar Român

  • adjuvant — adjuvant, ante (a dju van, van t ) adj. 1°   Qui aide, auxiliaire. 2°   En termes de pharmacie, un médicament adjuvant, ou subst. m. un adjuvant, médicament qu on fait entrer dans une formule pour seconder l action de celui qu on regarde comme… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • Adjuvant — Ad ju*vant, a. [L. adjuvans, p. pr. of adjuvare to aid: cf. F. adjuvant. See {Aid}.] Helping; helpful; assisting. [R.] Adjuvant causes. Howell. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Adjuvant — Ad ju*vant ([a^]d j[ u]*vant), n. [L. adjuvamentum, fr. adjuvare to help; ad + juvare to help.] 1. (Immunology) A substance added to an immunogenic agent to enhance the production of antibodies. Stedman. [PJC] 2. A substance added to a… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Adjuvant — Ad ju*vant, n. 1. An assistant. [R.] Yelverton. [1913 Webster] 2. (Med.) An ingredient, in a prescription, which aids or modifies the action of the principal ingredient. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adjuvant — adjuvant. См. адъювант. (Источник: «Англо русский толковый словарь генетических терминов». Арефьев В.А., Лисовенко Л.А., Москва: Изд во ВНИРО, 1995 г.) …   Молекулярная биология и генетика. Толковый словарь.

  • Adjuvánt — (lat.), Gehilfe, s. Hilfslehrer …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • adjuvant — I adjective accessory, aiding, ancillary, assistant, assisting, auxiliary, cooperative, helpful, helping, ministerial, obliging, serving, subservient, subsidiary II noun acolyte, adjutant, aid, aide de camp, ancillary, assistant, attendant,… …   Law dictionary

  • adjuvant — adjùvant m <G mn nātā> DEFINICIJA 1. v. adjutor 2. a. ono što pomaže da se poboljšaju svojstva čega drugoga (o nekim materijalima, spojevima i sl.) b. onaj koji pomaže djelovanje drugoga (o lijekovima i sl.) ETIMOLOGIJA vidi adjutum …   Hrvatski jezični portal

  • adjuvant — adj *auxiliary, contributory, ancillary, accessory, subsidiary, subservient Analogous words: aiding, helping, assisting (see HELP vb): supporting, upholding, backing (see SUPPORT vb): *effective, efficient, efficacious, effectual Antonyms:… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

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