Interleukin 17 (IL-17)-producing T helper 17 cells (T(H)-17 cells) have been described as a T helper cell subset distinct from T helper type 1 (T(H)1) and T(H)2 cells, with specific functions in antimicrobial defense and autoimmunity. The factors driving human T(H)-17 differentiation remain controversial. Using a systematic approach combining experimental and computational methods, we show here that transforming growth factor-beta, interleukin 23 (IL-23) and proinflammatory cytokines (IL-1beta and IL-6) were all essential for human T(H)-17 differentiation. However, individual T(H)-17 cell-derived cytokines, such as IL-17, IL-21, IL-22 and IL-6, as well as the global T(H)-17 cytokine profile, were differentially modulated by T(H)-17-promoting cytokines. Transforming growth factor-beta was critical, and its absence induced a shift from a T(H)-17 profile to a T(H)1-like profile. Our results shed new light on the regulation of human T(H)-17 differentiation and provide a framework for the global analysis of T helper responses.