Résumé : Neonatal immaturity of the immune system is currently believed to generally limit the induction of immune responses to vaccine Ags and to skew them toward type 2 responses. We demonstrated here that Bordetella pertussis infection in very young infants (median, 2 mo old) as well as the first administration of whole-cell pertussis vaccine induces B. pertussis Ag-specific IFN-gamma secretion by the PBMC of these infants. IFN-gamma was secreted by both CD4(+) and CD8(+) T lymphocytes, and the levels of Ag-induced IFN-gamma secretion did not correlate with the age of the infants. Appearance of the specific Th-1 cell-mediated immunity was accompanied by a general shift of the cytokine secretion profile of these infants toward a stronger Th1 profile, as evidenced by the response to a polyclonal stimulation. We conclude that the immune system of 2-mo-old infants is developmentally mature enough to develop Th1 responses in vivo upon infection by B. pertussis or vaccination with whole-cell pertussis vaccines.