Recent advances in vaccine adjuvants: the development of MF59 emulsion and polymeric microparticles

Mol Med Today. 1997 Feb;3(2):69-75. doi: 10.1016/S1357-4310(96)10058-7.


Vaccines produced by recombinant DNA technology are safer than 'traditional' vaccines but they are often poorly immunogenic, requiring adjuvants to enhance their immunogenicity. Particulate adjuvants of defined dimensions (< 5 microns) have been shown to be effective in enhancing the immunogenicity of 'weak' antigens in animal models. Two novel adjuvants that possess significant potential for the development of new vaccines are the MF59 sub-microemulsion and polymeric microparticles. MF59 is an oil-in-water emulsion and has been shown to be both potent and safe in human subjects with several vaccines. Microparticles prepared from the biodegradable polymer poly(lactide-co-glycolide) have been shown to enhance immunogenicity when administered by mucosal routes, such as oral and intranasal, and they also possess considerable potential for the development of single-dose vaccines through the use of controlled-release technology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / chemistry
  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / economics
  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / pharmacology*
  • Administration, Intranasal
  • Animals
  • Biopolymers / chemistry*
  • Biopolymers / pharmacology
  • Biotechnology / economics
  • Biotechnology / methods
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Mucosal
  • Polysorbates / chemistry
  • Polysorbates / pharmacology*
  • Squalene / chemistry
  • Squalene / pharmacology*
  • Vaccines, Synthetic / chemistry*
  • Vaccines, Synthetic / pharmacology*


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Biopolymers
  • MF59 oil emulsion
  • Polysorbates
  • Vaccines, Synthetic
  • Squalene