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Infect Immun. 1993 Mar;61(3):844-51.

Specificity of a protective memory immune response against Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

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  • 1Bacterial Vaccine Department, Statens Seruminstitut, Copenhagen S, Denmark.


We have investigated the memory T-cell immune response to Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection. C57BL/6J mice infected with M. tuberculosis were found to generate long-lived memory immunity which provided a heightened state of acquired resistance to a secondary infection. The T-cell response of memory immune mice was directed to all parts of the bacilli, i.e., both secreted and somatic proteins. Major parts of the memory T-cell repertoire were maintained in a highly responsive state by cross-reactive restimulation with antigens present in the normal microbiological environment of the animals. A resting non-cross-reactive part of the memory repertoire was restimulated early during a secondary infection to expand and produce large amounts of gamma interferon. The molecular target of these T cells was identified as a secreted mycobacterial protein with a molecular mass of 3 to 9 kDa.

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