Adjuvants enhance immunity to vaccines and experimental antigens by a variety of mechanisms. In the past decade, many receptors and signaling pathways in the innate immune system have been defined and these innate responses strongly influence the adaptive immune response. The focus of this review is to delineate the innate mechanisms by which adjuvants mediate their effects. We highlight how adjuvants can be used to influence the magnitude and alter the quality of the adaptive response in order to provide maximum protection against specific pathogens. Despite the impressive success of currently approved adjuvants for generating immunity to viral and bacterial infections, there remains a need for improved adjuvants that enhance protective antibody responses, especially in populations that respond poorly to current vaccines. However, the larger challenge is to develop vaccines that generate strong T cell immunity with purified or recombinant vaccine antigens. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.
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