Development of antimalaria immunity in mice lacking IFN-γ receptor

M. Tsuji, Y. Miyahira, R. S. Nussenzweig, M. Aguet, M. Reichel, F. Zavala

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81 Scopus citations


IFN-γ receptor deficient (IFN-γR(-/-)) mice, immunized with different developmental stages of malaria parasites, were used to define the mechanisms of protection against the various stages of this infection. IFN-γR(-/-) mice failed to develop protective immunity against Plasmodium yoelii sporozoites or liver stages, upon immunization with a single dose of irradiated sporozoites, whereas in immunized wild-type mice, parasite development was strongly inhibited. Immunized wild-type mice expressed high levels of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) mRNA in their liver, upon challenge with viable sporozoites, whereas only background levels of iNOS were detected in immunized IFN-γR(-/-) mice. In contrast, after immunization with multiple doses of irradiated sporozoites, both IFN-γR(-/-) and wild-type mice mounted an immune response, which strongly inhibited the development of liver stage parasites. In both types of mice, protection occurred in the absence of appreciable expression of liver iNOS mRNA. As for the course of the erythrocytic phase of infection by nonlethal malaria species, P. yoelii yoelii and P. chabaudi adami, we observed only a moderately prolonged parasitemia in IFN-γR(-/-) mice compared with wild-type mice, indicating that IFN-γ may only play a modest role in immunity against erythrocytic stages. These results indicate that IFN-γ is the main mediator of the protective mechanism that develops first upon immunization with sporozoites. However, the nature of the anti parasite mechanism(s) changes in the course of immunization, so that multiple immunizing doses elicit additional protective mechanisms, which are independent of IFN-γ and its receptor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5338-5344
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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