Abstract: There is a strong innate immunity in calves to infection with Babesia bovis. Interleukin (IL)-12 and IL-10 have been shown in vitro to be important immunoregulatory cytokines. Here we demonstrate in vivo that the protective innate response in young calves to infection with virulent B. bovis involves the early appearance of IL-12 and interferon-γ (IFN-γ) transcripts in the spleen. In contrast, IL-12 and IFN-γ mRNA expression in the spleens of adult cattle that succumbed to the infection was delayed and depressed and occurred within the context of IL-10 expression. Also in contrast with calves, there was no detectable antibody response before death in adults. A vigorous CD8+ T-cell expansion occurred in the spleens of both calves and adults.