Send to

Choose Destination
Infect Immun. 1993 Feb;61(2):399-410.

Cell-mediated immunity to Bordetella pertussis: role of Th1 cells in bacterial clearance in a murine respiratory infection model.

Author information

Department of Immunobiology, National Institute for Biological Standards and Control, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom.


A murine respiratory infection model was used to study the mechanism of protective immunity to Bordetella pertussis. We found that nude mice, which are deficient in T cells, developed a persistent infection and failed to clear the bacteria after aerosol inoculation. In contrast, normal adult nonimmune mice cleared a respiratory infection approximately 35 days after challenge. Before bacterial clearance, antipertussis antibody levels in serum were low or undetectable, whereas consistent antigen-specific T-cell responses were demonstrated throughout the course of infection. The in vitro responses detected in immune spleen cells were mediated by a population of CD4+ major histocompatibility complex class II-restricted Th1-like cells that secreted interleukin-2 and gamma interferon but not interleukin-4. Adoptive transfer of immune spleen cells into nude or sublethally irradiated immunosuppressed mice before challenge resulted in bacterial clearance within 14 to 21 days. In contrast, injection of serum from convalescent mice before challenge only marginally reduced the bacterial load early in the course of infection. Furthermore, transfer of enriched T cells or purified CD4+ T cells but not CD8+ T cells from immune mice conferred a high level of protection. Recipients of CD4+ T cells cleared the bacteria from the lungs within 20 days of challenge, at which time B. pertussis-specific antibodies in the serum were undetectable. Although we do not rule out a contribution of mucosal immunoglobulin A, our findings suggest that cellular responses mediated by CD4+ Th1 cells play an important role in protective immunity to B. pertussis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center