Vaccine adjuvant uses of poly-IC and derivatives

Expert Rev Vaccines. 2015 Mar;14(3):447-59. doi: 10.1586/14760584.2015.966085. Epub 2014 Oct 13.


Pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) are stand-alone immunomodulators or 'danger signals,' that are increasingly recognized as critical components of many modern vaccines. Polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid (poly-IC) is a synthetic dsRNA that can activate multiple elements of the host defense in a pattern that parallels that of a viral infection. When properly combined with an antigen, it can be utilized as a PAMP-adjuvant, resulting in modulation and optimization of the antigen-specific immune response. We briefly review the preclinical and clinical uses of poly-IC and two poly-IC derivatives, poly-IC12U (Ampligen) and poly-ICLC (Hiltonol), as vaccine adjuvants.

Keywords: Adaptive immunity; PAMP; TLR3; adjuvant; ampligen; hiltonol; innate immunity; interferons; poly-IC; poly-ICLC; vaccine.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / administration & dosage
  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Poly I-C / administration & dosage
  • Poly I-C / pharmacology*
  • Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • Vaccines / immunology*


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Vaccines
  • Poly I-C