Interleukin 2 acts as an adjuvant to increase the potency of inactivated rabies virus vaccine

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1989 Jun;86(11):4240-3. doi: 10.1073/pnas.86.11.4240.


Interleukin 2 (IL-2) occupies a central position in the cascade of events involved in the immune response. We were interested in determining whether IL-2 could function as an adjuvant to vaccination, to increase the immune response to vaccine immunogens. Using the National Institutes of Health test for rabies vaccine potency, we found that daily systemic administration of IL-2 in conjunction with inactivated rabies virus can increase the potency of vaccination in outbred mice at least 25-fold, as measured by survival following challenge with virulent rabies virus. Enhanced protection is not correlated with an increase in virus-neutralizing antibody titers, and we suggest that IL-2 acts to increase the cellular immune response to vaccination.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic*
  • Animals
  • Interleukin-2 / administration & dosage
  • Interleukin-2 / pharmacology*
  • Mice
  • Neutralization Tests
  • Rabies / prevention & control
  • Rabies Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • Rabies Vaccines / immunology*
  • Recombinant Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Recombinant Proteins / pharmacology
  • Vaccines, Inactivated / administration & dosage
  • Vaccines, Inactivated / immunology*


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Interleukin-2
  • Rabies Vaccines
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Vaccines, Inactivated