Whooping cough (pertussis) is a highly contagious respiratory infection caused by Bordetella pertussis. Although availability of effective pertussis vaccines reportedly decreases the incidence of the disease, B. pertussis circulation in populations has not been eliminated. Thus, it is necessary to find new protein candidates with greater immune protective capacities than the currently available acellular pertussis vaccines. In this study, iron superoxide dismutase (FeSOD) gene (sodB) was cloned, expressed in Escherichia coli and recombinant FeSOD protein thence purified. The recombinant protein (rFeSOD) was formulated with aluminum hydroxide (Alum) or monophosphoryl lipid A (MPLA) and injected intraperitoneally to immunize mice, after which IgG1, IgG2a and IFN-gamma titers were measured to assess humoral and cellular responses, respectively, to these immunizations. The extent of bacterial colonization in lungs of intranasally challenged mice was determined 5, 8 and 14 days post-challenge. IgG1 and IgG2a responses were significantly stronger in mice that had been immunized with rFeSOD-MPLA than in those that had received rFeSOD-Alum (P<0.05).Additionally, IgG2a titers were higher in mice vaccinated with recombinant protein FeSOD (rFeSOD) formulated with MPLA, especially after the second immunization. Immunization with rFeSOD-MPLA also provided a modest, but significant decrease in bacterial counts in lungs of mice (P<0.05). Antigen specific-IFN-gamma responses were significantly stronger in the group vaccinated with rFeSOD-MPLA, which could account for the lower bacterial counts. These findings suggest that rFeSOD protein formulated with MPLA has potential as an acellular pertussis vaccine candidate component.