Are there negative CNS impacts of aluminum adjuvants used in vaccines and immunotherapy?

Immunotherapy. 2014;6(10):1055-71. doi: 10.2217/imt.14.81.


In spite of a common view that aluminum (Al) salts are inert and therefore harmless as vaccine adjuvants or in immunotherapy, the reality is quite different. In the following article we briefly review the literature on Al neurotoxicity and the use of Al salts as vaccine adjuvants and consider not only direct toxic actions on the nervous system, but also the potential impact for triggering autoimmunity. Autoimmune and inflammatory responses affecting the CNS appear to underlie some forms of neurological disease, including developmental disorders. Al has been demonstrated to impact the CNS at every level, including by changing gene expression. These outcomes should raise concerns about the increasing use of Al salts as vaccine adjuvants and for the application as more general immune stimulants.

Keywords: CNS; adjuvant; aluminum; autoimmunity; neurodegeneration; toxicity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / adverse effects*
  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / chemistry
  • Aluminum Compounds / adverse effects*
  • Animals
  • Central Nervous System / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / adverse effects*
  • Vaccines / adverse effects*
  • Vaccines / chemistry


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Aluminum Compounds
  • Vaccines