Formaldehyde as a fixitive in vaccines

Damien Rothstein doctord at
Sat Aug 31 21:38:30 EST 1996

In article <4v9k4i$hj1 at>, Bender at 
>bcb56 at Bridges) wrote:
>> From a medline abstract
>> Enhancement of protective immune responses to Venezuelan equine
>> encephalitis (VEE) virus with microencapsulated vaccine.
>> Arthors: Greenway TE; Eldridge JH; Ludwig G; Sta
>> as JK; Smith JF; Gilley RM; Michalek 
>> Department of Microbiology, University of Alabama at Birmingham 35294,
>> USA.
>> Formaldehyde is used as a fixative in a vaccine and enhances the
>> antibody response to the vaccine.  Other fixatives are also indicated
>> as increasing the responsiveness to the vaccine.
>> With that in mind is it possible for formaldehyde and other reactive
>> chemicals to bind with other substances in the air and cause a immune
>> response to those substances?  
>> Would there be any significant difference in the effect of substances
>> inhaled and absorbed into the blood stream and those given by
>> vaccination?
>> Betty Bridges, RN

Im sorry but i thought formaldehyde / paraformaldehyde / formalin and 
their derivatives cross-linked proteins during primary and secondary 
fixation of tissues and as a consequence the protein antigenic 
determinants were lost/destroyed thus reducing the immune response to 
these determinants.

However keeping in mind that the aldehydes have reactive groups for ANY 
proteins (even those linked to sugars and lipids) I do believe that these 
would react with proteins in the atmosphere (although i don't know why 
under a laminar flow hood these would be there) and hence induce an 
immune response (as long as there was the required "hapten-carrier 
effect" present to induce the response ie. there was a LOT of cross 
linking happening).

vaccination is a direct injection into the body, ususally making its way 
into the peripheral lymphatic system in direct contact with the immune 
system, this way there is an immediate response to the same foreign body 
by this system. Inhalation of an aerosol has a delayed effect (unless its 
some kind of vasopressin or similar) on the immune system as the 
substance has to be processed through a longer pathway by the APC's of 
the immune system thus I suggest that inhalation gives a delayed response 
and would require a much higher dose than with injection/vaccination.

Damien Rothstein BSc. Uni. Melb.(Australia)

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