Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 17312104
J. Immunol. 2007 Mar;178(5):2646-50
Virulent strains of Bacillus anthracis produce immunomodulating toxins and an antiphagocytic capsule. The toxin component-protective Ag is a key target of the antianthrax immune response that induces production of toxin-neutralizing Abs. Coimmunization with spores enhances the antitoxin vaccine, and inactivated spores alone confer measurable protection. We aimed to identify the mechanisms of protection induced in inactivated-spore immunized mice that function independently of the toxin/antitoxin vaccine system. This goal was addressed with humoral and CD4 T lymphocyte transfer, in vivo depletion of CD4 T lymphocytes and IFN-gamma, and Ab-deficient (muMT(-/-)) or IFN-gamma-insensitive (IFN-gammaR(-/-)) mice. We found that humoral immunity did not protect from nontoxinogenic capsulated bacteria, whereas a cellular immune response by IFN-gamma-producing CD4 T lymphocytes protected mice. These results are the first evidence of protective cellular immunity against capsulated B. anthracis and suggest that future antianthrax vaccines should strive to augment cellular adaptive immunity.