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To determine whether an ongoing response to Leishmania major would affect the response to a non-cross-reacting, non-leishmanial antigen, susceptible BALB/c mice and resistant C3H mice were infected with L. major parasites expressing Escherichia coli beta-galactosidase (beta-GAL); this parasite was designated L. major-betaGAL. BALB/c and C3H mice responded to infection with L. major-betaGAL by mounting a CD4 T-cell response to both parasite antigens and to the reporter antigen, beta-GAL. The phenotypes of these T cells were characterized after generating T-cell lines from infected mice. As expected, BALB/c mice responded to infection with L. major-betaGAL by producing interleukin 4 in response to the parasite and C3H mice produced gamma interferon (IFN-gamma) in response to the parasite and beta-GAL. Interestingly, however, BALB/c mice produced IFN-gamma in response to beta-GAL. Taken together, these results demonstrate that priming of IFN-gamma-producing cells can occur in BALB/c mice despite the fact the animals are simultaneously mounting a potent Th2 response to L. major.

Original publication





Infection and immunity

Publication Date





809 - 814


Department of Tropical Public Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes, Th1 Cells, Animals, Mice, Inbred BALB C, Mice, Inbred C3H, Mice, Leishmania major, Leishmaniasis, Cutaneous, beta-Galactosidase, Lipopolysaccharides, Antibodies, Protozoan, Transfection, Macrophage Activation, Interferon-gamma