CpG oligonucleotides as adjuvants for vaccines targeting infectious diseases

Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2009 Mar 28;61(3):248-55. doi: 10.1016/j.addr.2008.12.012. Epub 2009 Jan 14.


Synthetic oligodeoxynucleotides (ODN) containing unmethylated CpG motifs act as immune adjuvants, accelerating and boosting antigen-specific immune responses. CpG motifs promote the induction of Th1 and pro-inflammatory cytokines and support the maturation/activation of professional antigen presenting cells (particularly plasmacytoid dendritic cells). These effects are optimized by maintaining close physical contact between the CpG ODN and the immunogen. Co-administering CpG ODN with a variety of vaccines has improved the resultant humoral and/or cellular immune responses, culminating in enhanced protective immunity in rodent and primate challenge models. Ongoing clinical studies indicate that CpG ODN are safe and well-tolerated when administered as adjuvants to humans, and that they can support increased vaccine-specific immune responses.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / administration & dosage*
  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / adverse effects
  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / therapeutic use
  • Animals
  • Antibody Formation
  • Bacterial Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Bacterial Vaccines / immunology
  • Communicable Disease Control*
  • Communicable Diseases / immunology*
  • CpG Islands*
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Mucosal
  • Oligodeoxyribonucleotides / administration & dosage*
  • Oligodeoxyribonucleotides / adverse effects
  • Oligodeoxyribonucleotides / therapeutic use
  • Viral Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Viral Vaccines / immunology


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Bacterial Vaccines
  • CPG-oligonucleotide
  • Cytokines
  • Oligodeoxyribonucleotides
  • Viral Vaccines