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Adjuvant effect of docetaxel on the immune responses to influenza A H1N1 vaccine in mice

Jian Chen1, Lin Yuan2, Qing Fan1, Fei Su1, Yu Chen3 and Songhua Hu1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Veterinary Medicine, College of Animal Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, 310058, China

2 Institute of Microbiology, Academy of Jiangxi Province, Nanchang, Jiangxi, 330029, China

3 Center of Experimental Animals, Zhejiang Academy of Chinese Materia Medica, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, 310007, China

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BMC Immunology 2012, 13:36  doi:10.1186/1471-2172-13-36

Published: 7 July 2012



Vaccination remains one of the most effective approaches to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Immune responses to vaccination can be enhanced by inclusion of adjuvant in a vaccine. Paclitaxel extracted from the bark of the Pacific yew tree Taxus brevifola was previously demonstrated to have adjuvant property. Compared to paclitaxel, docetaxel is another member of taxane family, and is more soluble in water and easier to manipulate in medication. To investigate the adjuvant effect of this compound, we measured the immune responses induced by co-administration of a split inactivated influenza H1N1 vaccine antigen with docetaxel.


When co-administered with docetaxel, lower dose antigen (equivalent to 10 ng HA) induced similar levels of IgG and IgG isotypes as well as HI titers to those induced by higher dose antigen (equivalent to 100 ng HA). Docetaxel promoted splenocyte responses to H1N1 antigen, ConA and LPS, mRNA expressions of cytokines (IFN-gamma, IL-12, IL-4 and IL-10) and T-bet/GATA-3 by splenocytes. The enhanced immunity was associated with up-expressed microRNAs (miR-155, miR-150 and miR-146a) in docetaxel-stimulated RAW264.7 cells. Docetaxel promoted similar IgE level to but alum promoted significantly higher IgE level than the control.


Docetaxel has adjuvant effect on the influenza H1N1 vaccine by up-regulation of Th1/Th2 immune responses. Considering its unique vaccine adjuvant property as well as the safe record as an anti-neoplastic agent clinically used in humans during a long period, docetaxel should be further studied for its use in influenza vaccine production.

Docetaxel; Adjuvant; Influenza; H1N1; Th1/Th2