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J Infect Dis. 2015 Aug 1;212(3):495-504. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiv055. Epub 2015 Jan 30.

Interferon γ and Tumor Necrosis Factor Are Not Essential Parameters of CD4+ T-Cell Responses for Vaccine Control of Tuberculosis.

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Infectious Disease Research Institute Department of Global Health, University of Washington, Seattle.
Infectious Disease Research Institute.



Mycobacterium tuberculosis infects one third of the world's population and causes >8 million cases of tuberculosis annually. New vaccines are necessary to control the spread of tuberculosis. T cells, interferon γ (IFN-γ), and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) are necessary to control M. tuberculosis infection in both humans and unvaccinated experimental animal models. However, the immune responses necessary for vaccine efficacy against M. tuberculosis have not been defined. The multifunctional activity of T-helper type 1 (TH1) cells that simultaneously produce IFN-γ and TNF has been proposed as a candidate mechanism of vaccine efficacy.


We used a mouse model of T-cell transfer and aerosolized M. tuberculosis infection to assess the contributions of TNF, IFN-γ, and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) to vaccine efficacy.


CD4(+) T cells were necessary and sufficient to transfer protection against aerosolized M. tuberculosis, but neither CD4(+) T cell-produced TNF nor host cell responsiveness to IFN-γ were necessary. Transfer of Tnf(-/-) CD4(+) T cells from vaccinated donors to Ifngr(-/-) recipients was also sufficient to confer protection. Activation of iNOS to produce reactive nitrogen species was not necessary for vaccine efficacy.


Induction of TH1 cells that coexpress IFN-γ and TNF is not a requirement for vaccine efficacy against M. tuberculosis, despite these cytokines being essential for control of M. tuberculosis in nonvaccinated animals.


ID93+GLA-SE; IFN-γ; Mycobacterium tuberculosis; TH1; TNF; vaccine

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