IL-2 complexes have substantial effects on the cellular immune system, and this approach is being explored for therapeutic application in infection and cancer. However, the impact of such treatments on subsequent encounter with pathogens has not been investigated. In this study, we report that naive mice treated with a short course of IL-2 complexes show enhanced protection from newly encountered bacterial and viral infections. IL-2 complex treatment expands both the NK and CD8 memory cell pool, including a recently described population of preexisting memory-phenotype T cells responsive to previously unencountered foreign Ags. Surprisingly, prolonged IL-2 complex treatment decreased CD8 T cell function and protective immunity. These data reveal the impact of cytokine complex treatment on the primary response to infection.