Priming of a β-galactosidase (β-Gal)-Specific Type 1 Response in BALB/c Mice Infected With β-Gal-transfected Leishmania major

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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 β-galactosidase (β-GAL); this parasite was designated L. major-βGAL. BALB/c and C3H mice responded to infection with L. major-βGAL by mounting a CD4 T-cell response to both parasite antigens and to the reporter antigen, β-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-βGAL by producing interleukin 4 in response to the parasite and C3H mice produced gamma interferon (IFN-γ) in response to the parasite and β-GAL. Interestingly, however, BALB/c mice produced IFN-γ in response to β-GAL. Taken together, these results demonstrate that priming of IFN-γ-producing cells can occur in BALB/c mice despite the fact the animals are simultaneously mounting a potent Th2 response to L. major.