- Unlabelled: We investigated the profile of some in vitro parameters of cellular immune responses in non-HIV-infected Ethiopian children and young adults with and without tuberculosis (TB) as compared to healthy Ethiopian and non-Ethiopian controls. The in vitro proliferative responses of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) to purified protein derivative (PPD) were determined in 15 Ethiopian children and young adults with TB, 12 healthy Ethiopian children who were contacts of TB patients, 20 Ethiopian children without contact with TB and ten non-Ethiopian controls. All TB patients and contacts had a positive Mantoux skin test. The PBMC proliferative response to PPD of the Ethiopian children with TB was significantly higher than that of the Ethiopian children without TB, while all Ethiopian children demonstrated stronger proliferative response as compared to non-Ethiopian healthy controls. Interleukin 2 (IL-2), interferon gamma (IFN-gamma), interleukin 4 (IL-4) and interleukin 6 (IL-6) were measured by ELISA assays performed on the supernatant of PPD-stimulated and non-stimulated PBMC cultures of seven Ethiopian children with TB, ten Ethiopian children without TB and eight non-Ethiopian controls. IFN-gamma and IL-4 were undetectable and IL-2 levels in unstimulated supernatants were low in all groups. PPD stimulation induced a significant rise in IL-2 levels in Ethiopians with TB as compared to all other groups. There was no increase above baseline in IL-6 levels in any group studied. Conclusions: Ethiopian children with TB exhibit a strong cellular immune response as expressed by Mantoux tests and lack of stimulation of IL-4 and IL-6 production. This pattern suggests a Th1 type effective cellular immune response to mycobacteria in a cohort of young Ethiopians with TB.