MicroRNA-mediated regulation of T helper cell differentiation and plasticity

Nat Rev Immunol. 2013 Sep;13(9):666-78. doi: 10.1038/nri3494. Epub 2013 Aug 2.


CD4(+) T helper (TH) cells regulate appropriate cellular and humoral immune responses to a wide range of pathogens and are central to the success of vaccines. However, their dysregulation can cause allergies and autoimmune diseases. The CD4(+) T cell population is characterized not only by a range of distinct cell subsets, such as TH1, TH2 and TH17 cells, regulatory T cells and T follicular helper cells--each with specific functions and gene expression programmes--but also by plasticity between the different TH cell subsets. In this Review, we discuss recent advances and emerging ideas about how microRNAs--small endogenously expressed oligonucleotides that modulate gene expression--are involved in the regulatory networks that determine TH cell fate decisions and that regulate their effector functions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Cell Differentiation / immunology
  • Cell Survival / immunology
  • Gene Expression Regulation / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immune Tolerance / genetics
  • Immune Tolerance / immunology
  • Lymphocyte Activation / genetics
  • Lymphocyte Activation / immunology
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • MicroRNAs / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / immunology*


  • MicroRNAs