Parasitic and viral infections can be prevented by vaccine induced cellular immunity, but molecules that can enhance the effects of the vaccines are still largely unknown. In March 4 online Journal of Experimental Medicine, Gloria Gonzalez-Aseguinolaza and colleagues from New York University School of Medicine, show that natural killer T cell glycolipid ligand α-galactosylceramide (α-GalCer) can enhance the protective immunity induced by malaria vaccines.

Gonzalez-Aseguinolaza et al. used mice and found that simultaneous administration of α-GalCer with doses of irradiated sporozoites or recombinant viruses expressing a malaria antigen greatly enhanced the level of protective anti-malaria immunity. The α-GalCer improved antigen-specific CD8+ T cell responses, and to a lesser degree, Th1-type responses and required the co-administration ofCD1d molecules, Vα14 NKT cells and interferon γ (J Exp Med 2002, 195:617-624).

"These findings should contribute to the design of more effective vaccines against malaria and other intracellular...

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