Abstract

The target of the CD8+ T cell-dependent immunity that protects mice immunized with irradiation-attenuated malaria sporozoites has not been established. Immune BALB/c mice were shown to develop malaria-specific, CD8+ T cell-dependent inflammatory infiltrates in their livers after challenge with Plasmodium berghei sporozoites. Spleen cells from immune BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice eliminated hepatocytes infected with the liver stage of P. berghei in vitro. The activity against infected hepatocytes is not inhibited by antibodies to interferon-gamma and is not present in culture supernatants. It is genetically restricted, an indication that malaria antigens on the hepatocyte surface are recognized by immune T effector cells. Subunit vaccine development will require identification of the antigens recognized by these T cells and a method of immunization that induces such immunity.

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