Increased gamma delta T cells in acute Plasmodium falciparum malaria

Immunol Lett. 1990 Aug;25(1-3):139-41. doi: 10.1016/0165-2478(90)90105-y.


The T cell receptor of gamma delta is normally expressed on a small percentage of peripheral lymphocytes. Although the role of gamma delta T cells in the physiologic immune response is still unknown, there is accumulating evidence that gamma delta T cells may participate in the immune response to mycobacterial and other infectious organisms. In this study, we have quantitated the number of circulating gamma delta T cells during acute Plasmodium falciparum malaria. The results indicate that gamma delta T cells are elevated during the acute infection and remain elevated for at least 4 weeks during convalescence. T cells may participate in the immune response against P. falciparum by functioning as non-MHC restricted cytotoxic cells against intraerythrocytic parasites. Alternatively, lymphokines may be produced on antigen stimulation which may have antiparasitic activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Animals
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / immunology
  • Malaria / immunology*
  • Plasmodium falciparum / immunology*
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / physiology*
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta