Single cell analysis of cytokine gene coexpression during CD4+ T-cell phenotype development

R. Pat Bucy, Laurel Karr, Guo Qiang Huang, Jimin Li, Denise Carter, Kazuhito Honjo, James A. Lemons, Kenneth M. Murphy, Casey T. Weaver

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CD4+ T cells from αβ-T-cell receptor transgenic mice were analyzed for coexpression of cytokine mRNAs during phenotype development using a double- label in situ hybridization technique. T cells that produced cytokines in the primary response were a fraction of the activated population, and only a minority of the cytokine-positive cells coexpressed two cytokines. In secondary responses, frequencies of double-positive cells increased, although they remained a minority of the total. Of the cytokine pairs examined, interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-5 were the most frequently coexpressed. IL-4 and interferon γ showed the greatest tendency toward segregation of expression, being rarely coexpressed after the primary stimulation. These data indicate that there is significant heterogeneity of cytokine gene expression by individual CD4+ T cells during early antigenic responses. Coexpression of any pairs of cytokines, much less Th1 and Th2 cytokines, is generally the exception. The Th0 phenotype is a population phenotype rather than an individual cell phenotype.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7565-7569
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 1 1995


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