Interferon-gamma receptor (IFN-gamma R) deficient mice parasitized with blood-stage Plasmodium chabaudi chabaudi were used to assess the anti-malarial activity of interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma). There was no significant difference in the parasitaemia between the two types of mice during the first peak of parasitaemia. However, IFN-gamma R deficient mice displayed an increased leucocytosis and a high mortality rate, whereas all of the wild type mice survived. IFN-gamma R deficient mice, unlike wild type mice, developed a pronounced second parasitaemia peak, 9 to 11 days after the first one, with a parasitaemia of up to 65% associated with mortality. Furthermore, increased serum levels of nitric oxide (NO) were only found in wild type mice at the peak of parasitaemia, whereas it remained at background levels in IFN-gamma R deficient mice. Parasite-specific antibody production was not significantly different in IFN-gamma R deficient mice, as compared to wild type mice. In addition, both wild type and IFN-gamma R deficient mice were equally protected upon reinfection. These results indicate a delayed development of protective immunity and imply a crucial function for the IFN-gamma R in the control of blood stage malaria during the initial three weeks of infection.