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Eur J Immunol. 2014 Sep;44(9):2680-91. doi: 10.1002/eji.201344437. Epub 2014 Aug 20.

T-bet modulates the antibody response and immune protection during murine malaria.

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Division of Bacterial, Parasitic, and Allergenic Products, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Rockville, MD, USA.


CD4(+) T-cell subtypes govern the synthesis of different Ab isotypes and other immune functions. The influence of CD4(+) T-cell differentiation programs on isotype switching and other aspects of host immunological networks during malaria infection are currently poorly understood. Here, we used Tbx21(-/-) mice deficient for T-bet, a regulator of Th1 CD4(+) T-cell differentiation, to examine the effect of Th1 CD4(+) T cells on the immune protection to nonlethal murine malaria Plasmodium yoelii 17XNL. We found that Tbx21(-/-) mice exhibited significantly lower parasite burden that correlated with elevated levels of IgG1, indicating that T-bet-dependent Ab isotype switching may be responsible for lower parasite burden. Absence of T-bet was also associated with a transient but significant loss of T cells during the infection, suggesting that T-bet may suppress malaria-induced apoptosis or induce proliferation of T cells. However, Tbx21(-/-) mice produced greater numbers of Foxp3(+) CD25(+) regulatory CD4(+) T cells, which may contribute to the early contraction of T cells. Lastly, Tbx21(-/-) mice exhibited unimpaired production of IFN-γ by a diverse repertoire of immune cell subsets and a selective expansion of IFN-γ-producing T cells. These observations may have implications in malaria vaccine design.


IgG1; Immunity; Plasmodium yoelii; T-bet

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