TH1/TH2 cell differentiation and molecular signals

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2014;841:15-44. doi: 10.1007/978-94-017-9487-9_2.


The distinctive differentiated states of the CD4+ T helper cells are determined by the set of transcription factors and the genes transcribed by the transcription factors. In vitro induction models, the major determinants of the cytokines present during the T-cell receptor (TCR)-mediated activation process. IL-12 and IFN-γ make Naive CD4+ T cells highly express T-bet and STAT4 and differentiate to TH1 cells, while IL-4 make Naive CD4+ T cells highly express STAT6 and GATA3 and differentiated to TH2 cells. Even through T-bet and GATA3 are master regulators for TH1/TH2 cells differentiation. There are many other transcription factors, such as RUNX family proteins, IRF4, Dec2, Gfi1, Hlx, and JunB that can impair TH1/TH2 cells differentiation. In recent years, noncoding RNAs (microRNA and long noncoding RNA) join in the crowd. The leukocytes should migrate to the right place to show their impact. There are some successful strategies, which are revealed to targeting chemokines and their receptors, that have been developed to treat human immune-related diseases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cytokines / physiology
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs / physiology
  • Receptors, CCR4 / physiology
  • Receptors, CCR5 / physiology
  • Receptors, CXCR3 / physiology
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Th1 Cells / cytology*
  • Th1 Cells / physiology
  • Th2 Cells / cytology*
  • Th2 Cells / physiology
  • Transcription Factors / physiology


  • Cytokines
  • MicroRNAs
  • Receptors, CCR4
  • Receptors, CCR5
  • Receptors, CXCR3
  • Transcription Factors