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J Immunol. 1997 Jul 1;159(1):53-60.

Defective TCR stimulation in anergized type 2 T helper cells correlates with abrogated p56(lck) and ZAP-70 tyrosine kinase activities.

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Swiss Institute of Allergy and Asthma Research, Davos.


Development of IgE-mediated allergic conditions is dependent on the secretion of a Th2 cytokine pattern, including IL-4, IL-5, and IL-13. The induction of anergy would be one mechanism to abrogate cytokine secretion by Th2 cells, which may be pivotal to the allergic response. We demonstrate here that incubation of cloned human CD4+ phospholipase A2 (PLA)-specific Th2 cells with antigenic peptide, in the absence of professional APC, results in a state of nonresponsiveness. The anergic T cells failed to proliferate or secrete IL-4 in response to optimal stimulation with PLA and autologous, professional APC. Secretion of IL-5 and IL-13, however, was only partially inhibited. The anergic state of the Th2 cells was not associated with CD3 or CD28 down-regulation. However, anergy did appear to be closely related to alterations in signaling pathways, mediated through the TCR, of the cells. In contrast to untreated Th2 cells, anergized Th2 cells failed to respond to anti-CD3 mAb with either increased tyrosine kinase activity or increased levels of tyrosine phosphorylation of p56(lck) or ZAP70. A strong and sustained intracellular calcium flux, observed in untreated Th2 cells in response to anti-CD3 mAb, was absent in anergic Th2 cells. Furthermore, the induction of anergy seems to represent an active process, associated with increased levels of basal tyrosine kinase activity, cytokine production, and CD25 up-regulation in anergic Th2 cells. Together, our results indicate that anergy in Th2 cells is associated with defective transmembrane signaling through the TCR.

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