Although native cholera toxin (CT) is an extremely effective adjuvant, its toxicity prevents its use in humans. We report here that apple polyphenol extract (APE), obtained from unripe apples, reduces CT-induced morphological changes and cAMP accumulation. Based upon this finding, we have attempted to design a novel, effective and safe mucosal vaccine by using CT with several dosages of APE as nasal adjuvants. Mice nasally immunized with OVA plus CT and an optimal dosage of APE showed significantly reduced levels of inflammatory responses as well as total and OVA-specific IgE antibodies when compared with mice given without APE. However, levels of both mucosal and systemic OVA-specific antibody responses were maintained. Further, APE significantly down-regulated accumulation of CT in the olfactory nerves and epithelium. In summary, an optimal dosage of APE would take full advantage of mucosal adjuvanticity of native CT without any toxicity for application in humans. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.