Much of our focus in understanding Th1/Th2 development has been on the signals delivered by IL-12 and IL-4 as final determinants of terminal T cell differentiation. Because extinction of IL-12 signaling in early Th2 development could potentially be important in imprinting a more permanent Th2 phenotype on a population of T cells, we have also examined various parameters regulating the IL-12 signaling pathway. Whereas IL-4 appears to repress functional IL-12 signaling through inhibition of IL-12R β2 expression, IFN-γ in the mouse, and IFN-α in the human appear to induce IL- 12R β2 expression and promote IL-12 responsiveness. We propose that Th1 development can be considered in two stages, capacitance and development. Capacitance would simply involve expression of IL-12R β1 and β2 subunits, regulated by TCR, IL-4 and IFNs. The second stage, development, we propose is the true IL-12 induced developmental stage, involving expression of Stat4 inducible proteins. In the human, this may also occur via IFN-α, which is able to activate Stat4. It is perhaps possible that all of Stat4 actions on Th1 development may be exert directly by Stat4 at the IFN-γ gene, however we suggest that, more likely, Stat4 may act to induce Th1 development through the induction of other non-cytokine genes, whose stable expression maintains the transcriptional state of a Th1 cell.
|Number of pages||4|
|Journal||Current topics in microbiology and immunology|
|State||Published - Jan 11 1999|