Cytokines have the potential as adjuvants for the application of vaccines in mammals. However, the adjuvant potential of teleost cytokines was limited. In the present work, the adjuvant effects of four recombinant cytokines including IL-1β, IL-8, TNF-α and G-CSF on E. tarda subunit vaccine rOmpV were comparatively investigated in flounder (Paralichthys olivaceus). Compared with control, the levels of specific serum antibodies and IgM + B lymphocytes were significantly enhanced by rIL-1β, rIL-8 and rG-CSF, whereas rIL-1β and rIL-8 induced significantly higher levels than rG-CSF. All four cytokines enhanced the expression of genes involved in humoral and/or cellular immunities, whereas rIL-1β and rIL-8 induced highest levels of genes involved in humoral immunities and cellular immunities, respectively. Compared to the relative percent survivals (RPS) of control group (40%) and rOmpV plus rG-CSF group (54%), rOmpV plus rIL-1β or rIL-8 produced higher RPS of 75% and 68%, respectively. Our results indicated that rIL-1β and rIL-8 are promising adjuvants for subunit vaccines against E. tarda.