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J Immunol. 1991 Aug 1;147(3):810-5.

Restricted T cell expression of IL-2/IFN-gamma mRNA in human inflammatory disease.

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Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA.


It has been difficult to demonstrate functionally distinct T cell populations in humans on the basis of cytokine secretion. As previous investigators have examined the T cell cytokine profile from immunized animals, we examined whether Th1 or Th2 type T cells could be identified in the peripheral blood or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) immune compartments from subjects with or without inflammatory diseases. Using limiting dilution analysis and growth with PHA and IL-2/IL-4, we directly cloned a total of 177 T cells from the peripheral blood and CSF of seven subjects, four with inflammatory disease and three control subjects, and examined the cytokine message profile after stimulation with ionomycin and PMA. We found that most clones from both the peripheral blood and CSF express IL-1, IL-2, IL-4, IFN-gamma, or TNF-alpha cytokine mRNA after activation with ionomycin and PMA. All T cell clones tested produced TNF-alpha mRNA, and all but 14 produced IFN-gamma mRNA. As reported previously, Th0 cells, which produced IFN-gamma, IL-2, IL-4, and IL-5 mRNA, were found in most subjects. In striking contrast, Th1 cells, which expressed IL-2 and IFN-gamma but not IL-4 or IL-5 mRNA, were present in both peripheral blood and CSF of subjects with inflammatory disease but not found in peripheral blood or CSF of subjects without systemic inflammation. Th2 cells, expressing IL-4 and IL-5 but not IFN-gamma or IL-2 mRNA, were not found in any subject. These data present the first evidence for Th1 T cell clones in humans that may be associated with systemic inflammation.

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