The Plasmodium falciparum circumsporozoite (CS) protein-based pre-erythrocytic stage vaccine, RTS,S, induces a high level of protection against experimental sporozoite challenge. The immune mechanisms that constitute protection are only partially understood, but are presumed to rely on Abs and T cell responses. In the present study we compared CS protein peptide-recalled IFN-γ reactivity of pre- and RTS,S-immune lymphocytes from 20 subjects vaccinated with RTS,S. We observed elevated IFN-γ in subjects protected by RTS,S; moreover, both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells produced IFN-γ in response to CS protein peptides. Significantly, protracted protection, albeit observed only in two of seven subjects, was associated with sustained IFN-γ response. This is the first study demonstrating correlation in a controlled Plasmodia sporozoite challenge study between protection induced by a recombinant malaria vaccine and Ag-specific T cell responses. Field-based malaria vaccine studies are in progress to validate the establishment of this cellular response as a possible in vitro correlate of protective immunity to exo-erythrocytic stage malaria vaccines.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy