Saponins are triterpene or steroid glycosides widely distributed in the plant and animal kingdom and include a large of number of biologically active coumpounds. Most of them have surface-active and cholesterol-binding properties. They have been shown to exhibit many biological and pharmacological activities as antiphlogistic, antiallergic, cytotoxic, antitumor and antitumor-promoting, antiviral, antihepatotoxic, molluscicidal, antibacterial, antiparasitic and antifungal activities, and especially immunoadjuvant activities. Adjuvants have been used to improve vaccine efficacy since the early 1929s. Nowadays many new vaccines are under development and there is a desired more effective adjuvants. Some triterpene saponins, especially those originating from Quillaja saponaria, are potent immunoadjuvat vaccines.This work will make an overview on the immunomodulatory properties of some adjuvants, especially the saponins, and will explain the main mechanisms of action by which they act.
Key words: Saponins, pharmacological activities, immunoadjuvant activity.
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