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Immunol Rev. 2004 Oct;201:57-74.

Requirements for the development of IL-4-producing T cells during intestinal nematode infections: what it takes to make a Th2 cell in vivo.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD, USA.


Components of the type 2 immune response may mediate host protection against both helminthic parasites and harmful allergic responses. A central player in this response is the T-helper 2 (Th2) effector cell, which produces interleukin (IL)-4, IL-5, IL-13, and other Th2 cytokines during the primary and memory response. Specific aspects of the parasite that trigger Th2-cell differentiation are not yet defined. Furthermore, the cell types and cell surface and secreted molecules that provide the immune milieu required for the development of Th2 effector cells and also Th2 memory cells are not well understood. They will probably vary with the particular helminth or other antigen inducing the Th2 response. We have used third stage larvae of intestinal nematode parasites as adjuvants to promote naïve nonparasite antigen-specific T cells to differentiate into Th2 cells. This model system avoids possible parasite antigen-specific T-cell clones or cross-reactive memory T cells that may preferentially differentiate into Th2 effector cells during the course of infection and confound the stereotypical components of parasite-induced Th2 cell differentiation. We have found that these parasites have a potent adjuvant effect and have used our model system to begin to investigate the events that lead to the development of polarized Th2 cells in vivo.

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