Central memory T cells mediate long-term immunity to Leishmania major in the absence of persistent parasites

Colby Zaph, Jude Uzonna, Stephen M. Beverley, Phillip Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

250 Citations (Scopus)


Infection with Leishmania mayor induces a protective immune response and long-term resistance to reinfection, which is thought to depend upon persistent parasites. Here we demonstrate that although effector CD4+ T cells are lost in the absence of parasites, central memory CD4+ T cells are maintained. Upon secondary infection, these central memory T cells become tissue-homing effector T cells and mediate protection. Thus, immunity to L. major is mediated by at least two distinct populations of CD4+ T cells: short-lived pathogen-dependent effector cells and long-lived pathogen-independent central memory cells. These data suggest that central memory T cells should be the targets for nonlive vaccines against infectious diseases requiring cell-mediated immunity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1104-1110
Number of pages7
JournalNature Medicine
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2004
Externally publishedYes

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