Rapid development of Th2 activity during T cell priming

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The paradigm of T helper-1 (Th-1) and Th-2 cells developing from non-committed naive precursors is firmly established. Th1 cells are characterized by IFNgamma production and, in mice, the selective switching to IgG2a. Conversely IL-4 production and selective switching to IgG1 and IgE characterize Th2 cells. Analysis of Th2 induction in vitro indicates that this polarization develops gradually in T cells activated by anti-CD3 in the presence of IL-4; conversely anti-CD3 and IFNgamma induce Th1 cells. In this report, we explore evidence that indicates that the T helper cell polarization in vivo cannot solely be explained by the cytokine environment. This is provided by studying the early acquisition of Th1 and Th2 activities during responses to a mixture of Th1 and Th2-inducing antigens. It is shown that these divergent forms of T cell help can rapidly develop in cells within a single lymph node. It is argued that early polarization to show Th-1 or Th-2 behavior can be induced by signals delivered during cognate interaction between virgin T cells and dendritic cells, in the absence of type 1 or type 2 cytokines. This contrasts with the critical role of the cytokines in reinforcing the Th-phenotype and selectively expanding T helper clones.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalClinical and Developmental Immunology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2003


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens, CD3
  • Bromodeoxyuridine
  • Immunization
  • Immunoglobulin D
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Interferon-gamma
  • Interleukin-4
  • Lymph Nodes
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Nitrophenols
  • Pertussis Vaccine
  • Phenylacetates
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Th1 Cells
  • Th2 Cells
  • gamma-Globulins


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