Two populations of schoolchildren from Gabon and Cameroon were tested in 1995 for their immunological reactivity to synthetic peptides (LSA-Rep, LSA-J and LSA-CTL) from Plasmodium falciparum liver stage antigen-1 (LSA-1). The prevalence and levels of both cellular (lymphocyte proliferation, tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF alpha), interferon gamma (IFN gamma), and interleukin-10 (IL-10)) and humoral (immunoglobulin G) responses were determined. Protection from clinical malaria, determined after a prospective 1 year study in both sites, was associated with elevated proliferative responses to LSA-Rep and LSA-CTL in the Gabonese children, as well as with higher antibody levels to both schizont extract and LSA-Rep. The prevalence of peptide-stimulated TNF-alpha secretion was higher in the Cameroonian group, but higher levels of antibodies to LSA-Rep and LSA-J were found in the Gabonese children. The immunological differences observed between children in the 2 study sites are discussed in the context of both epidemiological and individual host factors.