CD4⁺T cells: differentiation and functions

Clin Dev Immunol. 2012;2012:925135. doi: 10.1155/2012/925135. Epub 2012 Mar 14.

Abstract

CD4⁺T cells are crucial in achieving a regulated effective immune response to pathogens. Naive CD4⁺T cells are activated after interaction with antigen-MHC complex and differentiate into specific subtypes depending mainly on the cytokine milieu of the microenvironment. Besides the classical T-helper 1 and T-helper 2, other subsets have been identified, including T-helper 17, regulatory T cell, follicular helper T cell, and T-helper 9, each with a characteristic cytokine profile. For a particular phenotype to be differentiated, a set of cytokine signaling pathways coupled with activation of lineage-specific transcription factors and epigenetic modifications at appropriate genes are required. The effector functions of these cells are mediated by the cytokines secreted by the differentiated cells. This paper will focus on the cytokine-signaling and the network of transcription factors responsible for the differentiation of naive CD4⁺T cells.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Cell Differentiation / immunology
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Epigenesis, Genetic / immunology
  • Gene Expression Regulation / immunology
  • Humans
  • Lymphocyte Activation / genetics
  • Lymphocyte Activation / immunology
  • Mice
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Signal Transduction / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / cytology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology*
  • Th1 Cells / cytology
  • Th1 Cells / immunology*
  • Th17 Cells / cytology
  • Th17 Cells / immunology*
  • Th2 Cells / cytology
  • Th2 Cells / immunology*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / immunology

Substances

  • Cytokines
  • Transcription Factors