In order to improve the immunogenicity of the highly purified vaccine antigens, addition of an adjuvant to formulation, without affecting the safety of the vaccine, has been the key aim of the vaccine formulators. In recent years, adjuvants which are composed of a delivery system and immunopotentiators have been preferred to induce potent immune responses. In this study, we have combined Salmonella Typhi porins and chitosan to develop a new adjuvant system to enhance the immunogenicity of the highly purified antigens. Cationic gels, microparticle (1.69 +/- 0.01 mu m) and nanoparticles (337.7 +/- 1.7 mu m) based on chitosan were prepared with high loading efficiency of porins. Cellular uptake was examined by confocal laser scanning microscopy, and the macrophage activation was investigated by measuring the surface marker as well as the cytokine release in vitro in J774A.1 macrophage murine cells. Porins alone were not taken up by the macrophage cells whereas in combination with chitosan a significant uptake was obtained. Porins-chitosan combination systems were found to induce CD80, CD86 and MHC-II expressions at different levels by different formulations depending on the particle size. Similarly, TNF-alpha and IL-6 levels were found to increase with porins-chitosan combination. Our results demonstrated that combination of porins with chitosan as a particulate system exerts enhanced adjuvant effect, suggesting a promising adjuvant system for subunit vaccines with combined immunostimulating activity.