Five adjuvants were compared to Freund's adjuvant for production of mouse polyclonal antibodies and monoclonal antibodies (McAbs) to human serum albumin (HSA) and interleukin-1 alpha (IL-1 alpha). Parameters examined were titer, affinity, concentration, isotype, epitope specificity and neutralizing activity of sera and hybridoma supernatants. Freund's adjuvant, while producing high titers and concentrations of antibodies in sera, was inferior to other adjuvants for eliciting antibodies with particular qualities. The adjuvants Quil A and A1(OH)3/[Thr1]muramyldipeptide elicited the highest affinity antibodies to HSA. Syntex adjuvant formulation-1 (SAF-1) elicited the highest percentage of 'protective' IgG2a antibodies
to HSA. All adjuvants, particularly Quil A and Ribi adjuvant system, where superior to Freund's adjuvant in eliciting antibodies which bound native versus denatured HSA. In a comparison of SAF-1 and Freund's adjuvant, SAF-1 was superior to Freund's adjuvant in eliciting polyclonal and hybridoma antibodies which neutralized the biological activity of IL-1 alpha. These results show that adjuvants selectively and independently enhance different qualities of the antibody response. Furthermore, immunization with the appropriate adjuvant can optimize production of McAbs with desired qualities.