Th1/Th2/Th17/Treg expression in cultured PBMCs with antiphospholipid antibodies

Mol Med Rep. 2012 Nov;6(5):1035-9. doi: 10.3892/mmr.2012.1055. Epub 2012 Aug 30.


The aim of this study was to evaluate the expression of T-helper cell subtypes Th1, Th2, Th17 and Treg in antiphospholipid syndrome (APS), and whether they are related to anti-cardiolipin antibody (aPL) titers. Peripheral mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were isolated from healthy donors, and incubated with aPLs. Subsequent to a 48‑h incubation, PBMCs were collected and detected by flow cytometry. The results revealed that aPLs at higher concentrations may induce a significant increase in Th2 and Th17 frequencies, as opposed to a significant decrease in Th1 and Treg frequencies and the Th1/Th2 ratio. These results indicate that there is a Th1/Th2 imbalance, a Th17 upregulation and a Treg downregulation present in APS, and that these factors are positively correlated with aPL titers, suggesting a potential role of Th cells in the pathogenesis of APS.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Antiphospholipid / pharmacology*
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma / metabolism
  • Interleukin-17 / metabolism
  • Interleukin-2 Receptor alpha Subunit / metabolism
  • Interleukin-4 / metabolism
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / cytology
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / drug effects*
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / cytology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / metabolism
  • Th1 Cells / cytology*
  • Th1 Cells / immunology
  • Th1 Cells / metabolism
  • Th17 Cells / cytology*
  • Th17 Cells / immunology
  • Th17 Cells / metabolism
  • Th2 Cells / cytology*
  • Th2 Cells / immunology
  • Th2 Cells / metabolism


  • Antibodies, Antiphospholipid
  • FOXP3 protein, human
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors
  • Interleukin-17
  • Interleukin-2 Receptor alpha Subunit
  • Interleukin-4
  • Interferon-gamma