Relationship between physical and chemical properties of aluminum-containing adjuvants and immunopotentiation

Stanley L. Hem, Harm Hogenesch

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

173 Scopus citations


Aluminum-containing adjuvants are an important component of many vaccines because they safely potentiate the immune response. The structure and properties of aluminum hydroxide adjuvant, aluminum phosphate adjuvant and alum-precipitated adjuvants are presented in this review. The major antigen adsorption mechanisms, electrostatic attraction and ligand exchange, are related to the adjuvant structure. The manner by which aluminum-containing adjuvants potentiate the immune response is related to the structure, properties of the adjuvant and adsorption mechanism. Immunopotentiation occurs through the following sequential steps: inflammation and recruitment of antigen-presenting cells, retention of antigen at the injection site, uptake of antigen, dendritic cell maturation, T-cell activation and T-cell differentiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)685-698
Number of pages14
JournalExpert Review of Vaccines
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Adsorption mechanism
  • Aluminum hydroxide adjuvant
  • Aluminum phosphate adjuvant
  • Antigen trapping
  • Antigen uptake
  • Dendritic cell maturation
  • Isoelectric point
  • Recruitment of antigen-presenting cells
  • T-cell activation
  • T-cell differentiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery

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