Particulate adjuvant and innate immunity: past achievements, present findings, and future prospects

Int Rev Immunol. 2013 Apr;32(2):209-20. doi: 10.3109/08830185.2013.773326.


Particulates and crystals stimulate the immune system to induce inflammatory responses. Several nanometer- to micrometer-sized particulates, such as particle matter 2.5 (PM2.5), diesel particles, and sand dust, induce pulmonary inflammation and allergic asthma. Conversely, nanometer- to micrometer-sized crystal, sphere, and hydrogel forms of aluminum salts (referred to as "alum") have been used as vaccine adjuvants to enhance antibody responses in animals and humans. Although most of these particulates induce type-2 immune responses in vivo, the molecular and immunological mechanisms of action as a vaccine adjuvant are poorly understood. In this review, recent advances in particulate adjuvant research from the standpoint of innate immune responses are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / metabolism*
  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / therapeutic use
  • Alum Compounds / therapeutic use
  • Animals
  • Asthma / immunology*
  • Asthma / therapy
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Nanostructures / therapeutic use
  • Particle Size
  • Particulate Matter / chemistry
  • Particulate Matter / immunology
  • Particulate Matter / metabolism*
  • Pneumonia / immunology*
  • Pneumonia / therapy
  • Th2 Cells / drug effects
  • Th2 Cells / immunology*
  • Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • Vaccines / immunology


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Alum Compounds
  • Particulate Matter
  • Vaccines
  • aluminum sulfate