In an investigation of cell-mediated immunity against Bordetella pertussis, we found that B. pertussis infection in infants and in mice was associated with the induction of antigen-specific T cells that secrete IFN-g and IL-2, but not IL-4 or IL-5. This cytokine profile is characteristic of Th1 cells that mediate cellular immune responses against a range of intracellular pathogens. An examination of cytokine production following immunization with a three-component acellular vaccine, comprising inactive PT, FHA and pertactin adsorbed to alum, demonstrated that spleen cells from vaccinated mice produced high levels of IL-5, but no detectable IFN-g and low levels of IL-2. In contrast, peripheral blood mononuclear cells from vaccinated infants produced IL-2, IL-5 and IFN-g. These findings highlight significant differences in the immune responses generated by vaccination and natural infection with B. pertussis and demonstrate that the T-cell response induced with an acellular vaccine, although dominated by type 2 cytokines in mice, is more heterogeneous in infants with a Th0 or mixed Th1/Th2 cytokine profile.