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Infect Immun. 2002 Oct;70(10):5512-20.

Identification of two distinct subpopulations of Leishmania major-specific T helper 2 cells.

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Department of Immunology, Division of Investigative Science, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, London, United Kingdom.


It is widely accepted that a strong Th2 response is responsible for nonhealing Leishmania major infections in BALB/c mice. This Th2 response has been thoroughly documented by measuring the levels of Th2 cytokines produced by CD4(+) T cells present in the lymphoid organs by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and PCR. However, the cytokine profile of L. major-specific Th2 cells has never been determined. In this study, we used the recently described Th2 marker T1/ST2 to characterize Th2 cells during the course of nonhealing L. major infection. We analyzed the intracellular cytokine profile of CD4(+) T1/ST2(+) T cells and showed that they clearly displayed a Th2 phenotype, as they expressed interleukin 4 (IL-4), IL-10, and IL-5. In addition, we detected another population of Th2 cells among the CD4(+) T1/ST2(-) T cells that expressed IL-4 and IL-10 but excluded IL-5. In summary, we show here that two type 2 subpopulations are present in the lymphoid organs of L. major-infected BALB/c mice; Th2 cells from both subsets expressed IL-4 and IL-10, but they could be distinguished by their expression of IL-5 and T1/ST2.

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