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J Exp Med. 1995 Nov 1; 182(5): 1591–1596.
PMCID: PMC2192213

Extent of T cell receptor ligation can determine the functional differentiation of naive CD4+ T cells


Naive CD4+ T cells can differentiate into cells predominantly involved in humoral immunity, known as T helper type 2 cells (Th2), or cells involved in cell-mediated immunity, known as Th1 cells. In this report, we show that priming of CD4+ T cells bearing a transgene-encoded T cell receptor can lead to differentiation into Th1-like cells producing abundant interferon gamma when the cells are exposed to high antigen doses, while low doses of the same peptide induce cells with the same T cell receptor to differentiate into Th2-like cells producing abundant interleukin 4. Thus antigen dose is one factor that can control the differentiation fate of a naive CD4+ T cell.

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