Gamma interferon, CD8+ T cells and antibodies required for immunity to malaria sporozoites

Nature. 1987 Dec 17-23;330(6149):664-6. doi: 10.1038/330664a0.


This study was designed to test the hypothesis that T-cell effector mechanisms are required for protective immunity to malaria sporozoites. Administration of neutralizing monoclonal antibodies against gamma interferon (gamma IFN) to immune hosts, reversed sterile immunity to sporozoite challenge, by allowing the growth of exoerythrocytic forms (EEF) and thus the development of parasitaemia. Immune animals also developed infections when depleted in vivo of their suppressor/cytotoxic T cells expressing the CD8 antigen (CD8+) but not when depleted of helper T cells expressing CD4 antigen (CD4+), before sporozoite challenge. Passive transfer of immune immunoglobin alone, or adoptive transfer of immune T cells alone, conferred partial protection to naive recipients. Transfer of both immune components resulted in significantly greater protection. This transferred immunity was reversed by the in vivo neutralization of gamma IFN. Thus, sterile immunity to sporozoite challenge requires the neutralization of sporozoites by antibodies and the inhibition of EEF development by gamma IFN with the participation of CD8+ cells.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Immunity
  • Immunization, Passive
  • Interferon-gamma / physiology*
  • Malaria / immunology*
  • Plasmodium berghei / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Vaccination


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Interferon-gamma