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Trends Parasitol. 2003 Feb;19(2):88-93.

T cells as mediators of protective immunity against liver stages of Plasmodium.

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  • 1Department of Medical and Molecular Parasitology, New York University School of Medicine, 341 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010, USA.


T cells from different subsets play a major role in protective immunity against pre-erythrocytic stages of malaria parasites. Exposure of humans and animals to malaria sporozoites induces (alphabeta CD8(+) and CD4(+) T cells specific for antigens expressed in pre-erythrocytic stages of Plasmodium. These T cells inhibit parasite development in the liver, and immunization with subunit vaccines expressing the respective antigenic moieties confers protection against sporozoite challenge. gammadelta and natural killer T cells can also play a role in protective immunity. Recent studies with mice transgenic for the alphabeta T-cell receptor have revealed the existence of complex mechanisms regulating the induction and development of these responses.

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