Drug Discov Ther. 2015;9(2):88-93. (DOI: 10.5582/ddt.2015.01025)
Polysaccharides: Candidates of promising vaccine adjuvants.
Li PL, Wang FS
Aluminium-based adjuvants remain the only adjuvants approved for human use in the USA for over 80 years because of alum's simplicity, tolerability, safety and cost-efficiency. Recent development of vaccines, especially the increasing applications of recombinant subunit and synthetic vaccines, makes aluminium adjuvants cannot stimulate enough immunity to the antigens, since aluminium adjuvants can only induce Th2 type immune responses. So, novel adjuvants are urgent to make up the disadvantages of aluminium adjuvants. However, some major hurdles need to be overcome, not only the scientific knowledge of adjuvants but also unacceptable side-effects and toxicity. A number of carbohydrate-based polysaccharides from plant, bacterial, yeast and synthetic sources can act as pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) and recognize pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) on immune cells, followed by triggering innate immunity and regulating adaptive immunity. What is more, polysaccharides are safe and biodegradable without tissue deposits as observed in aluminium adjuvants. Therefore, polysaccharide-based compounds and formulations are potential vaccine adjuvant candidates. Here, we mainly review polysaccharide-based adjuvants investigated in recent years.