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PLoS One. 2014 May 1;9(5):e95986. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0095986. eCollection 2014.

Cytokine diversity in the Th1-dominated human anti-influenza response caused by variable cytokine expression by Th1 cells, and a minor population of uncommitted IL-2+IFNγ- Thpp cells.

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1
David H. Smith Center for Vaccine Biology and Immunology, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York, United States of America.

Abstract

Within overall Th1-like human memory T cell responses, individual T cells may express only some of the characteristic Th1 cytokines when reactivated. In the Th1-oriented memory response to influenza, we have tested the contributions of two potential mechanisms for this diversity: variable expression of cytokines by a uniform population during activation, or different stable subsets that consistently expressed subsets of the Th1 cytokine pattern. To test for short-term variability, in vitro-stimulated influenza-specific human memory CD4+ T cells were sorted according to IL-2 and IFNγ expression, cultured briefly in vitro, and cytokine patterns measured after restimulation. Cells that were initially IFNγ+ and either IL-2+ or IL-2- converged rapidly, containing similar proportions of IL-2-IFNγ+ and IL-2+IFNγ+ cells after culture and restimulation. Both phenotypes expressed Tbet, and similar patterns of mRNA. Thus variability of IL-2 expression in IFNγ+ cells appeared to be regulated more by short-term variability than by stable differentiated subsets. In contrast, heterogeneous expression of IFNγ in IL-2+ influenza-specific T cells appeared to be due partly to stable T cell subsets. After sorting, culture and restimulation, influenza-specific IL-2+IFNγ- and IL-2+IFNγ+ cells maintained significantly biased ratios of IFNγ+ and IFNγ- cells. IL-2+IFNγ- cells included both Tbetlo and Tbethi cells, and showed more mRNA expression differences with either of the IFNγ+ populations. To test whether IL-2+IFNγ-Tbetlo cells were Thpp cells (primed but uncommitted memory cells, predominant in responses to protein vaccines), influenza-specific IL-2+IFNγ- and IL-2+IFNγ+ T cells were sorted and cultured in Th1- or Th2-generating conditions. Both cell types yielded IFNγ-secreting cells in Th1 conditions, but only IL-2+IFNγ- cells were able to differentiate into IL-4-producing cells. Thus expression of IL-2 in the anti-influenza response may be regulated mainly by short term variability, whereas different T cell subsets, Th1 and Thpp, may contribute to variability in IFNγ expression.

PMID:
24788814
PMCID:
PMC4006810
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0095986
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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