Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 1998 Jun;9(2):139-51.

The role of helper T cell subsets in autoimmune diseases.

Author information

  • 1Skirball Institute for Biomedical Research and Dept. of Pathology, New York University School of Medicine, NY, USA.


CD4 helper T cells can be divided into Th1 and Th2 subsets based upon the cytokines they produce. Th1 and Th2 cells have been found to be mutually antagonistic, leading to either Th1- or Th2-dominated responses upon immunization. In recent years, several authors have suggested that in chronic inflammatory autoimmune diseases such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, Th1 cells are pathogenic and Th2 cells are protective. Therefore, a successful deviation from a Th1-dominated to a Th2-dominated response could have clinical benefits for individuals suffering from these diseases. Unfortunately, data accumulated over recent years have not supported this approach, in particular regarding the protective role of Th2 cells. In this review we discuss these data and conclude that, at least using currently available tools, immune deviation from Th1 to Th2-dominated responses is ineffective unless started at very early (subclinical) stages of the disease. In addition, we examine some recent data suggesting that, under some circumstances, Th2 cells can be pathogenic.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk