CD4+ and CD8+ cell cytokine profiles in neonates, older children, and adults: increasing T helper type 1 and T cytotoxic type 1 cell populations with age

Cell Immunol. 1998 Feb 1;183(2):149-56. doi: 10.1006/cimm.1998.1244.


The growing body of evidence suggestive of T helper types 1 and 2 (Th1/Th2) including their counterparts T cytotoxic types 1 and 2 (Tc1/Tc2) cell responses during various human disease states necessitates determination of normal T cell subsets' cytokine profiles. We show here, using intracellular cytokine staining and flow cytometry, that in healthy subjects interferon (IFN)-gamma producing CD4+ (Th1) and CD8+ (Tc1) cell populations progressively increase with age with strong correlation to CD45RO surface antigen expression. Meanwhile populations of cells capable of producing IL-4 (Th2 and Tc2) are comparably minimal across all age groups. Collectively, these results may reflect the maturation and expansion of Th1 and Tc1 cell populations from the neonatal period to adulthood, most probably dependent on antigen exposure.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aging / immunology*
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Child
  • Cytokines / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Interferon-gamma / metabolism
  • Interleukin-2 / metabolism
  • Leukocyte Common Antigens
  • Middle Aged
  • Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase, Non-Receptor Type 1
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / immunology
  • Th1 Cells / immunology


  • Cytokines
  • Interleukin-2
  • Interferon-gamma
  • Leukocyte Common Antigens
  • Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase, Non-Receptor Type 1