BCG vaccine drives a strong T helper 1 cellular immunity which is essential for the protection against mycobacteria, however recent studies suggest that BCG vaccination can have non-specific beneficial effects unrelated to tuberculosis. In the present cohort study the development of cytokine profiles following BCG vaccination was investigated. Immune responses to PPD were assessed before vaccination and at ages of 5 months, 1 year, and 2 years, followed by BCG scar measurement at 4 years of age. BCG was shown to induce both Th1 and Th2 type responses against PPD at about 5 months of age after vaccination, and while Th1 response was sustained, Th2 responses declined over time. However, BCG scar size was strongly correlated with Th2 responses to PPD at 5 months of age. Importantly, we observed no clear effects of BCG vaccination on innate immune responses in terms of early IL-10 or TNF-alpha production whereas some alterations in general adaptive immune responses to PHA were observed.
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