eTopic 24.1 Factors That Influence Immunogenicity

Several characteristics of potential antigens influence their immunogenicity, that is, their ability to elicit an immune response. As shown in the table below, these characteristic include antigen size, the dose administered, and the inoculation route. In addition, how closely the antigen resembles the self and how well it interacts with MHC proteins on cells impacts immunogenicity. For example, a molecule that is structurally very different from any other host molecule and that reacts well with MHC receptors will be highly immunogenic. Refer to this table to correlate features of an antigen to its ability to generate an immune response.


aRoute of inoculation affects immunogenicity of a given antigen. In general, subcutaneous inoculation gives the strongest immune response while intragastric inoculation yields the weakest response.