CD4+ T-cell subsets in autoimmunity

Curr Opin Immunol. 1997 Dec;9(6):872-83. doi: 10.1016/s0952-7915(97)80192-6.


The discovery that functionally heterogeneous CD4+ T-cell subsets secrete different cytokines offers an explanation for the ability of certain T cells to mediate a predominant cell-mediated immune response versus a humoral response often accompanied by allergic manifestations. Th1 cells, important for cell-mediated immunity by their production of IL-2, IFN-gamma and lymphotoxin, have been implicated in the immunopathology of certain organ-specific autoimmune diseases whereas a role as regulators has been suggested for IL-4 and IL-10 producing Th2 cells. Recent findings, however, beg re-evaluation of the direct role of Th2 cells in the induction or maintenance of tolerance, whereas evidence for the role of a distinct subset of regulatory T cells producing TGF-beta to suppress cell-mediated immunopathology is compelling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoimmunity / immunology*
  • CD4 Antigens / immunology
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Humans
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*


  • CD4 Antigens
  • Cytokines