Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How Common Vaccine Booster Works

Date:
May 24, 2008
Source:
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Summary:
A common ingredient in many vaccines stimulates and interacts with the immune system to help provide protection against infectious diseases. Vaccines must possess not only the bacterial or viral components that serve as targets of protective immune responses, but also ingredients to kick start those immune responses.

Yale University researchers explain how a common ingredient in many vaccines stimulates and interacts with the immune system to help provide protection against infectious diseases, in the journal Nature.

Vaccines must possess not only the bacterial or viral components that serve as targets of protective immune responses, but also ingredients to kick start those immune responses. In many vaccines, the bacterial or viral components themselves have this capability. For other vaccines, the immune system requires an added boost. Adjuvants are those substances added to a vaccine to help stimulate the immune system and make the vaccine more effective.

Currently the only vaccine adjuvants licensed for general use in the United States are aluminum hydroxide/phosphate formulations, known as alum. Although alum has been used to boost the immune responses to vaccines for decades, no one has known how it worked.

In this paper, the Yale team, led by Richard Flavell, M.D., Ph.D., and Stephanie Eisenbarth, M.D., Ph.D., examined the immune system pathway and cell receptors used by alum. Many microbial compounds function as adjuvants by stimulating Toll-like receptors. These receptors identify microbial invaders and alert the body to the presence of a disease-causing agent, or pathogen. Alum, however, does not stimulate Toll-like receptors.

The Yale team found that alum stimulates clusters of proteins called inflammasomes, found inside certain cells. Inflammasomes respond to stresses such as infection or injury by releasing immune cell signaling proteins called cytokines. Inflammasomes are a component of the innate immune system that operates in parallel with, but separate from, Toll-like receptors, also part of the innate immune system.

To make this determination, Dr. Eisenbarth and her coworkers used mice that had been genetically engineered to be deficient in various components of a specific type of inflammasome, characterized by the presence of the protein termed Nalp3. The team demonstrated that an immune response did not occur in those animals with the deficient Nalp3 inflammasomes, despite the inclusion of alum, while it did occur in normal mice. The team's findings provide the first convincing evidence that the Nalp3 inflammasome forms the basis for alum's adjuvant action.

According to the study authors, several unanswered questions remain regarding how activation of this pathway controls a highly specific and long-lasting immune response generated by a vaccine. But this new information on the molecules that alum uses to activate the innate immune system should provide the keys to better understanding adjuvant function and should facilitate the design of new vaccine adjuvants.

This research was funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. SC Eisenbarth et al. Crucial role for the Nalp3 inflammasome in the immunostimulatory properties of aluminum adjuvants. Nature DOI 10.1038/nature06939 (2008)

Cite This Page:

NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "How Common Vaccine Booster Works." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 May 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080521154549.htm>.
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. (2008, May 24). How Common Vaccine Booster Works. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080521154549.htm
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "How Common Vaccine Booster Works." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080521154549.htm (accessed August 23, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two US Ebola Patients Leave Hospital Free of the Disease

Two US Ebola Patients Leave Hospital Free of the Disease

AFP (Aug. 21, 2014) Two American missionaries who were sickened with Ebola while working in Liberia and were treated with an experimental drug are doing better and have left the hospital, doctors say on August 21, 2014. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) Contains graphic content. He's only 17. But Johntrell Bowles has wanted to be a doctor from a young age, despite the odds against him. He was recently the youngest participant in a cadaver program at the Indiana University NW medical school. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) It's unclear whether the American Ebola patients' recoveries can be attributed to an experimental drug or early detection and good medical care. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins