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Adjuvant Technologies


The word adjuvant comes from the Latin, adjuvare, which means to help. In fact, any substance that has the capacity of enhancing non-specifically the magnitude of an immune response when it is added into a vaccine or injected at the same time as the antigen can be called an adjuvant.  Originally, the interest in adjuvants stemmed from the search for a way to increase the humoral immune response to vaccination.  Today’s adjuvant technologists are interested in stimulation of specific components of the immune system, including the humoral immune response and various cell mediated responses.  Modes of action of the various adjuvants have been identified and are presented in detail. (Detailed Adjuvant Discussion)

Today, adjuvants play an important role in the efficacy of vaccines. Stimulating the correct immune response is a must when selecting an adjuvant to use for a new vaccine. Since one adjuvant alone is rarely optimal for all antigens, it is critical to have a selection of different types of adjuvants for evaluation with your antigen.  MVP offers a selection of oil emulsion based adjuvants, polymer based adjuvants and co-polymer based adjuvants. 


Mechanisms relative to MVP adjuvants are summarized below:

  1. Depot generation: Depots are produced by adjuvants that trap antigens at the injection site, providing slow release so as to continue stimulation of the immune system.  Microspheres that can remain at the injection site until biodegradation allows macrophages to remove them. All MVP adjuvants generate a depot effect.

  2. Stabilization of epitope conformation:  Non-ionic copolymers can interact with antigens in such a way that the native conformation is effectively maintained. POLYGEN™ and CARBIGEN™ are examples of stabilizing adjuvants.

  3. Targeting antigen to antigen presenting cells (APC):  Particulate adjuvants, including all of the MVP adjuvants, have the capability to bind antigens to form multi-molecular aggregates which will encourage uptake by APC.

  4. Immunomodulation of the cytokine network:  All of the MVP adjuvants are able to modify the cytokine network.  These adjuvants work by up-regulating certain cytokines and down-regulating other cytokines.

  5. Induction of MHC class I or MHC class II responses:  Some adjuvants are capable of directing antigen presentation by the major histocompatibility complexes (MHC) by means of fusion or disruption of cell membranes. Note the activity of MVP adjuvants in the table below.

Modes of Action for MVP Adjuvants
Adjuvant Immunodulation Targeting Presentation Depot
EMULSIGEN®-D Th1 +++. Th2 +++ +++ +++ + +
EMULSIGEN®-BCL Th1 +++. Th2 +++ +++ +++ + +
EMULSIGEN® Th2 +++ + +++ + +
EMULSIGEN®-P Th1 +++. Th2 +++ +++ +++ + --
CARBIGEN™ Th1 +. Th2 + + ++ +++ --
POLYGEN™ Th1 +. Th2 + + ++ ++ +

+        Stimulation
++      Moderate Stimulation
+++    Strong Stimulation


For more information refer to Detailed Adjuvant Discussion.

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