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Vol. 113, No. 1-3, 1997
Issue release date: 1997
Int Arch Allergy Immunol 1997;113:153–156

An Update on Human Th1 and Th2 Cells

Romagnani S. · Parronchi P. · D’Elios M.M. · Romagnani P. · Annunziato F. · Piccinni M-P. · Manetti R. · Sampognaro S. · Mavilia C. · De Carli M. · Maggi E. · Del Prete G-F.
aDivision of Clinical Immunology and Allergy, Institute of Internal Medicine and Immunoallergology, and bEndocrinology Unit, Department of Physiopathology, University of Florence, Italy

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The existence of functionally polarized human T cell responses based on their profile of cytokine secretion in both the CD4+ T helper (Th) and the CD8+ T cytotoxic cell subset has been established. Human Th1 and Th2 cells not only produce a different set of cytokines but also exhibit distinct functional properties and preferential expression of some activation markers, such as LAG-3 and CD30, respectively. Several factors are involved in the Th cell differentiation into the polarized Th1 or Th2 pathway. They include the cytokine profile of ‘natural immunity’ evoked by different offending agents, the nature of the peptide ligand, as well as the activity of some costimulatory molecules and microenvironmentally secreted hormones, in the context of different host genetic backgrounds. Polarized Th1-type and Th2-type responses play different roles in protection, Th1 being effective in the defense against intracellular pathogens and Th2 against intestinal nematodes. Moreover, they are responsible for different types of immunopathological reactions. Th1 responses predominate in organ-specific autoimmune disorders, acute allograft rejection, unexplained recurrent abortions, and in some chronic inflammatory disorders of unknown etiology. In contrast, Th2 responses predominate in Omenn’s syndrome, transplantation tolerance, chronic graft versus host disease, systemic sclerosis; moreover allergen-reactive Th2 cells are involved in the triggering of atopic disorders.

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