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Int Immunol. 1995 May;7(5):869-75.

Stability of Th1 and Th2 populations.

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Department of Pathology, Brigham & Women's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Using an in vitro model for the development of IFN-gamma-producing (Th1) and IL-4-producing (Th2) cells from CD4+ T lymphocytes expressing a transgenic TCR, we show that IL-12 and IL-4 are the most potent stimuli for the differentiation of naive T cells to effector populations. When combinations of cytokines are present during T cell priming, the effect of IL-4 is dominant. Furthermore, differentiated Th1 cells can be converted into IL-4 producers by exposure to IL-4, but the Th2 phenotype is not reversible. The stability of Th2 populations may limit the ability to regulate Th2-dominant responses in pathologic situations.

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