Flow cytometric determination of cytokines in activated murine T helper lymphocytes: expression of interleukin-10 in interferon-gamma and in interleukin-4-expressing cells

Eur J Immunol. 1994 May;24(5):1097-101. doi: 10.1002/eji.1830240513.


In an immune response, effector functions are controlled by T helper (Th) 1 cytokines [interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma), interleukin (IL)-2 and tumor necrosis factor-beta] and Th2 cytokines (IL-4, IL-5 and IL-10). Here we analyze by multiparameter immunofluorescence to what extent IL-2, IL-4, IL-5, IL-10 and IFN-gamma are co-expressed in individual normal murine Th cells upon activation in vitro with the bacterial superantigen Staphylococcus aureus enterotoxin B, presented in the context of major histocompatibility complex class II. IL-2 and IFN-gamma are co-expressed by some, but not by other Th cells. Expression of IL-4 and IFN-gamma is exclusive. IL-10 is co-expressed in individual cells either with IL-4 or with IFN-gamma. No IL-5-expressing cells are detected. While IL-10- and IL-4-co-expressing Th cells correspond to classical Th 2 cells, cells co-expressing IL-10 and IFN-gamma could be involved in negative-feedback regulation of a Th1 response. Apart from such functional implications, our results show that IL-2, IL-4, IL-5, IL-10 and IFN-gamma are expressed independently of each other in individual murine Th cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Cell Line
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis*
  • Enterotoxins / immunology
  • Interferon-gamma / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-10 / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-2 / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-4 / biosynthesis
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Spleen / cytology
  • Superantigens / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / immunology*


  • Cytokines
  • Enterotoxins
  • Interleukin-2
  • Superantigens
  • Interleukin-10
  • Interleukin-4
  • enterotoxin B, staphylococcal
  • Interferon-gamma