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[Regulation of the immune response: the TH1/TH2 concept]


Schweiz Med Wochenschr. 1997 Mar 1;127(9):341-8. Unique Identifier :

The immune system has different possible ways of reacting to an antigen. The choice of an appropriate immune response is determined by the manner of antigen presentation, the amount of antigen, the localization of antigen uptake, the type of antigen presenting cell, the genetic predisposition of the individual and the presence of certain cytokines released by antigen presenting or other inflammatory cells. An immune response which is not not appropriate can lead to clinical symptoms or insufficient clearance of an infectious agent. This is well-illustrated in the example of lepra lepromatosa (insufficient, since humoral immune response to an intracellular agent) or lepra tuberculosa complete clearance of Mycobacterium leprae). A decisive step for the type of immune response is the stimulation of different T-cell subpopulations. CD4 or CD8 T-cells can be further subdivided by a distinct cytokine production. So-called TH1 cells predominantly produce cytokines, which stimulate a cellular immune response (IFN gamma, IL-12, IL-2). In contrast, TH2 cells predominantly produce IL-4 and IL-5. These cytokines boost an IgE-mediated allergic reaction and inflammation. Although the TH1/ TH2 distinction is frequently not absolute, as overlaps can frequently be observed, this classification is useful for better understanding of immune reactions in various diseases. Moreover, since TH1- and TH2-related cytokines act antagonistically, therapeutic strategies are under development which strengthen e.g. a TH2 immune response in TH1 dominated diseases and vice versa.

*Antigen-Antibody Reactions/IMMUNOLOGY *Immunity/PHYSIOLOGY *Th1 Cells/IMMUNOLOGY *Th2 Cells/IMMUNOLOGY


Information in this article was accurate in July 30, 1997. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.