Tcell cytokine profiles in the spleens and Porphyromonas gingivalis-induced lesions of P. gingivalis-immunized mice were examined. BALB/c mice were immunized with P. gingivalis outer membrane (OM) antigens/mouse weekly for 3 weeks followed by challenge with live organisms 2 weeks after the final immunization. Control mice were immunized with PBS. Spleens were excised at 0 and 4 days and lesions at 1, 4, and 7 days after challenge. Splenic and lesional CD4 and CD8 cells were stained for intracytoplasmic interleukin (IL)-4, interferon (IFN)-gamma, and IL-10. More than 50% of the T cells in the spleens of immunized mice were IFN-gamma positive at day 0 which was significantly higher than for IL-4 or IL-10, these levels decreasing significantly 4 days after challenge. Less than 6% of the T cells in sham immunized mice were cytokine positive at day 0, although at day 4, there was a significant increase in the percent IL-10 positive CD4 cells and IL-4 and IL-10 positive CD8 cells. There were no differences in the percent IL-4, IFN-gamma, or IL-10 positive T cells in the lesions of immunized mice, but there was a dramatic decrease at day 7 to very low levels in control mice. In conclusion, the results of the present study show a predominant Thl response in the spleens of BALB/c mice after immunization with P. gingivalis OM antigens, suggesting that a protective immune response to P. gingivalis may involve a strong IFN-gamma response. J Periodontol 1998;69:1131-1138.