Differentiation of resting human peripheral blood gamma delta T cells toward Th1- or Th2-phenotype

Cell Immunol. 2001 Sep 15;212(2):110-7. doi: 10.1006/cimm.2001.1850.


Depending on the microenvironment, murine gamma delta T cells differentiate into either Th1 (IFN-gamma-producing) or Th2 (IL-4-producing) cells. It is unclear, however, whether circulating human peripheral blood gamma delta T cells can be driven into Th1 or Th2 cells by modulation of the priming cytokine milieu. In this study, peripheral blood gamma delta T cells were stimulated by phosphoantigen (isopentenyl pyrophosphate) or Daudi lymphoma cells in the presence of Th1-priming (rIL-12, anti-IL-4 Ab) or Th2-priming (rIL-4, anti-IL-12 Ab) conditions. Single-cell analysis of cytokine secretion (IFN-gamma and IL-4) was performed by flow cytometry after 18 h and after restimulation of expanded gamma delta T cells. The early activation of resting gamma delta T cells was characterized by the induction of IFN-gamma. Priming under Th1 conditions induced a Th1 profile characterized by increased secretion of IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha, while Th2 conditions caused increased production of IL-4 (Th2 profile) by the gamma delta T cells. These results indicate that the major subset of human gamma delta T cells can be polarized into either Th1 or Th2 cytokine pattern depending on the cytokine milieu in which contact with antigen occurs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / pharmacology
  • Antigens / immunology
  • Burkitt Lymphoma / pathology
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Cell Survival
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Hemiterpenes*
  • Humans
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Interferon-gamma / metabolism
  • Interleukin-1 / pharmacology
  • Interleukin-12 / pharmacology
  • Interleukin-4 / metabolism
  • Interleukin-4 / pharmacology
  • Ionomycin / pharmacology
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Organophosphorus Compounds / immunology
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta / immunology*
  • Recombinant Proteins / pharmacology
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / chemistry
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / cytology*
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / drug effects
  • Tetradecanoylphorbol Acetate / pharmacology
  • Th1 Cells / cytology*
  • Th2 Cells / cytology*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens
  • Hemiterpenes
  • Interleukin-1
  • Organophosphorus Compounds
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Interleukin-12
  • Interleukin-4
  • isopentenyl pyrophosphate
  • Ionomycin
  • Interferon-gamma
  • Tetradecanoylphorbol Acetate