The results herein show that mice infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis and then exposed to a protracted course of isoniazid chemotherapy possess a heightened state of acquired resistance to subsequent challenge with the homologous organism. Our results provide the first evidence, moreover, that this resistance is mediated by a long-lived, cyclophosphamide- and irradiation-resistant L3T4+ Lyt-2- lymphocyte capable of giving rise to an accelerated re-emergence of resistance in the animal upon rechallenge. Evidence is also provided to show that triggering of this memory-immune T cell population in the re-challenged host was associated with the rapid emergence of non-specific resistance to secondary bacterial infection; however, the accelerated emergence of this population was only observed if the challenge inoculum consisted of the living organism. The relevance of this latter finding to strategies for vaccine development is discussed.

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