Galactosylceramide-based Adjuvant Development

Galactosylceramide-based Adjuvant Development

Vaccines are an important way to eradicate many globally endemic pathogens such as smallpox. To elicit potent, long-lasting protective immunity of humoral and cellular makeup, scientists add adjuvants to vaccines to increase the immunogenicity of antigens and enhance immune responses. CD BioGlyco has accumulated rich experience in the field of adjuvant, we offer custom galactosylceramide-base adjuvant development services according to every specific need of our global clients.

Alpha-Galactosylceramide (α-GalCer)

α-GalCer is an artificial glycolipid isolated from the marine sponge Agelas Mauritianus. The α-GalCer structure contains a saturated C26 acyl chain and a C18 phytosphingosine linked to the sugar head group of a galactose via α-O-glycosidic bond. α-GalCer specifically activates natural killer T (NKT) cells through a CD1d-restricted mechanism with antitumor and immunostimulatory properties. α-GalCer has applications not only as a potential direct therapy for diseases such as cancer, atopic dermatitis, and asthma but also as an adjuvant to enhance the efficacy of various vaccines.

Action Mechanism of α-GalCer

After α-GalCer binds to the antigen-presenting molecule CD1d on dendritic cells, α-GalCer is presented to unconventional T lymphocytes of invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells, resulting in the activation of iNKT cells. These activated iNKT cells secrete cytokines Th1 (IFNγ) and Th2 (IL-4) rapidly after antigen presentation and subsequently induce a cascade of immunocompetent cells such as dendritic cells (DC), B cells, T cells, and NK cells.

Action mechanism of α-GalCer.Fig.1 Action mechanism of α-GalCer. (Pifferi, 2021)

α-GalCer-based Adjuvant

The conflicting limitations of Th1 and Th2 cytokines elicited by natural α-GalCer have driven scientists to develop α-GalCer synthetic analogs. α-GalCer analogs can stimulate preferential expression of cytokines by adding chemical modifications to the galactose and lipid moieties. CD BioGlyco provides customers with the development of α-GalCer analogs. We identify the key structural features required for Th1 and Th2 biased reactions by analyzing and studying the structure-activity relationship (SAR) of α-GalCer. α-GalCer is then continuously modified, structurally optimized, and becomes to be a more potent cytokine-biased vaccine adjuvant.

Applications of α-GalCer-based Adjuvant

  • As an effective adjuvant in the prevention of human malaria
  • Protecting swine against influenza infection
  • Enhancing antitumor immune responses of tumor vaccines
  • Inducing protective immunity against viral infection as a nasal vaccine adjuvant

α-GalCer preventive and therapeutic vaccines have great potential in infectious diseases and cancer. CD BioGlyco is a globally recognized expert in vaccine research, and we specialize in vaccine adjuvant research. Based on our powerful Glyco™ Vaccine Development Platform, CD BioGlyco offers customized solutions for galactosylceramide-base adjuvant development. If you are interested in our services, please contact us directly.


  1. Pifferi, C; et al. Natural and synthetic carbohydrate-based vaccine adjuvants and their mechanisms of action. Nature Reviews Chemistry. 2021, 5(3):197-216.
This service is for Research Use Only, not intended for any clinical use.

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