Type 1/Type 2 immunity in infectious diseases

Clin Infect Dis. 2001 Jan;32(1):76-102. doi: 10.1086/317537. Epub 2000 Dec 15.


T helper type 1 (Th1) lymphocytes secrete secrete interleukin (IL)-2, interferon-gamma, and lymphotoxin-alpha and stimulate type 1 immunity, which is characterized by intense phagocytic activity. Conversely, Th2 cells secrete IL-4, IL-5, IL-9, IL-10, and IL-13 and stimulate type 2 immunity, which is characterized by high antibody titers. Type 1 and type 2 immunity are not strictly synonymous with cell-mediated and humoral immunity, because Th1 cells also stimulate moderate levels of antibody production, whereas Th2 cells actively suppress phagocytosis. For most infections, save those caused by large eukaryotic pathogens, type 1 immunity is protective, whereas type 2 responses assist with the resolution of cell-mediated inflammation. Severe systemic stress, immunosuppression, or overwhelming microbial inoculation causes the immune system to mount a type 2 response to an infection normally controlled by type 1 immunity. In such cases, administration of antimicrobial chemotherapy and exogenous cytokines restores systemic balance, which allows successful immune responses to clear the infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Communicable Disease Control
  • Communicable Diseases / immunology*
  • Communicable Diseases / therapy
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Homeostasis / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy
  • Th1 Cells / immunology*
  • Th2 Cells / immunology*
  • Vaccines


  • Vaccines