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Mucosal Immunol. 2013 Jul;6(4):787-96. doi: 10.1038/mi.2012.117. Epub 2012 Nov 28.

Bordetella pertussis infection induces a mucosal IL-17 response and long-lived Th17 and Th1 immune memory cells in nonhuman primates.

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Division of Bacterial, Parasitic and Allergenic Products, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.


Despite near universal vaccine coverage, the bacterial pathogen Bordetella pertussis has re-emerged as a major public health concern. We recently developed a baboon (Papio anubis) model of pertussis that provides an excellent model of human pertussis. Using this model, the immune response to pertussis was characterized by measuring cytokines in the nasopharyngeal mucosa of infected baboons. Notably, we observed mucosal expression of interleukin-17 (IL-17) as well as IL-6, IL-23, and several cytokines and chemokines that are orchestrated by IL-17 immune responses. We also found substantial populations of circulating B. pertussis-specific Th17 and Th1 cells in convalescent animals >2 years post-infection consistent with a role in immunological memory to pertussis. Collectively, these data shed important light on the innate and adaptive immune responses to pertussis in a primate infection model and suggest that Th17 and Th1 immune responses contribute to the immunity conferred by natural pertussis infection.

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