Activated, but not resting human Th2 cells, in contrast to Th1 and T regulatory cells, produce soluble ST2 and express low levels of ST2L at the cell surface

Eur J Immunol. 2002 Oct;32(10):2979-87. doi: 10.1002/1521-4141(2002010)32:10<2979::AID-IMMU2979>3.0.CO;2-5.


The T1/ST2 gene encodes, as a result of differential splicing, a cell surface protein (transmembrane form of T1/ST2, ST2L) and a soluble, secreted, protein (ST2). Here, we show that transcripts for both ST2L and ST2 are present in activated human Th2 clones, but not in Th1 and T regulatory clones. This activation-dependent expression of ST2L/ST2 transcripts was also found in short-term in vitro differentiated, activated CD4(+) Th2 cells. No expression of ST2L or ST2 mRNA was detected in any of the resting T cell subsets. Low cell surface expression of ST2L was detected on activated Th2 clones, and on freshly isolated non-IFN-gamma-producing CD4(+) peripheral blood T cells, activated with anti-CD3 and anti-CD28 mAb. Finally, ST2 could be detected in the culture supernatants of activated, but not resting, Th2 clones. Taken together, these results show that the T1/ST2 gene products are inducible proteins and that human Th2 cells, in addition to expressing ST2L at their cell surface, secrete ST2 following activation.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-1 Receptor-Like 1 Protein
  • Lymphocyte Activation*
  • Membrane Proteins / analysis
  • Membrane Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Mice
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Rabbits
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Receptors, Interleukin
  • Th1 Cells / metabolism*
  • Th2 Cells / metabolism*


  • IL1RL1 protein, human
  • Il1rl1 protein, mouse
  • Interleukin-1 Receptor-Like 1 Protein
  • Membrane Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Receptors, Interleukin
  • Interferon-gamma