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Clin Dev Immunol. 2012;2012:795958. doi: 10.1155/2012/795958. Epub 2012 Apr 8.

Both CD4⁺ and CD8⁺ lymphocytes participate in the IFN-γ response to filamentous hemagglutinin from Bordetella pertussis in infants, children, and adults.

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Laboratory of Vaccinology and Mucosal Immunity, Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), 1070 Brussels, Belgium.


Infant CD4⁺ T-cell responses to bacterial infections or vaccines have been extensively studied, whereas studies on CD8⁺ T-cell responses focused mainly on viral and intracellular parasite infections. Here we investigated CD8⁺ T-cell responses upon Bordetella pertussis infection in infants, children, and adults and pertussis vaccination in infants. Filamentous hemagglutinin-specific IFN-γ secretion by circulating lymphocytes was blocked by anti-MHC-I or -MHC-II antibodies, suggesting that CD4⁺ and CD8⁺ T lymphocytes are involved in IFN-γ production. Flow cytometry analyses confirmed that both cell types synthesized antigen-specific IFN-γ, although CD4⁺ lymphocytes were the major source of this cytokine. IFN-γ synthesis by CD8⁺ cells was CD4⁺ T cell dependent, as evidenced by selective depletion experiments. Furthermore, IFN-γ synthesis by CD4⁺ cells was sometimes inhibited by CD8⁺ lymphocytes, suggesting the presence of CD8⁺ regulatory T cells. The role of this dual IFN-γ secretion by CD4⁺ and CD8⁺ T lymphocytes in pertussis remains to be investigated.

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