Bordetella pertussis-specific Th1/Th2 cells generated following respiratory infection or immunization with an acellular vaccine: comparison of the T cell cytokine profiles in infants and mice

Dev Biol Stand. 1997;89:297-305.


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.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / biosynthesis
  • Bordetella pertussis / immunology*
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis*
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis Vaccine / immunology*
  • Diphtheria-Tetanus-acellular Pertussis Vaccines
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular
  • Infant
  • Mice
  • Th1 Cells / immunology*
  • Th1 Cells / microbiology
  • Th2 Cells / immunology*
  • Th2 Cells / microbiology
  • Vaccination
  • Whooping Cough / immunology*
  • Whooping Cough / metabolism
  • Whooping Cough / prevention & control


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Cytokines
  • Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis Vaccine
  • Diphtheria-Tetanus-acellular Pertussis Vaccines