V gamma 9+ T cells from malaria non-exposed donors make proliferative responses to Plasmodium falciparum on in vitro stimulation. V gamma 9+ cells are strongly activated by components of the schizont stage of the parasite and by antigens released into the culture upon schizogony, while CD4+V gamma 9- cells are stimulated by the earlier stages of the parasite. Using reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) we determined mRNA expression for 14 cytokines in highly purified V gamma 9+ cells enriched by positive selection after in vitro stimulation with P. falciparum schizont antigens. Interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) and Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) were detected in all samples tested. The majority of samples also expressed TNF-beta, transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) and Interleukin-8 (IL-8). Only occasional samples expressed IL-2, IL-5 and IL-10. Using the ELISPOT assay we found that a large fraction of the reactive V gamma 9+ cells produced IFN-gamma and that gamma delta T cells are the major producers of IFN-gamma in cultures stimulated with schizont antigens. The majority of V gamma 9+ cells in these cultures also express the membrane-bound form of TNF-alpha. Expression of these cytokines speaks for a cytolytic and/or inflammatory role of gamma delta cells in the response to malaria in non-exposed individuals.