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How to deal with polarized Th2 cells: exploring the Achilles' heel

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Catharien Hilkens


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The central effector cells in the pathogenesis of atopic allergic diseases are type 2 T helper (Th2) cells, which display an aberrant cytokine profile dominated by type 2 cytokines. Initial reports from mouse studies indicated that established and committed Th2 cells are stable and unsusceptible to modulation. However, there is a growing awareness that in humans, established effector Th2 cells are more flexible and can be reverted to predominant Th1 phenotypes. In fact, the Th1-driving cytokine interleukin (IL)-12 is the crucial factor in this respect. IL-12 is mainly produced by dendritic cells (DC), which can be primed for high or low IL-12 production, depending on inflammatory and/or microbial signals they encounter during their residence in the peripheral tissues. Accordingly, both the regulation of and the priming for IL-12 production in DC form ideal targets for therapeutic intervention. The development of new therapies for atopic allergy now focuses on local IL-12-promoting substances to target both the development of new Th2 cells and the persistent population of established allergen-specific Th2 cells.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Smits HH, Hilkens CM, Kalinski P, Kapsenberg ML, Wierenga EA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Archives of Allergy and Immunology

Year: 2001

Volume: 126

Issue: 2

Pages: 102-110

Print publication date: 01/10/2001

ISSN (print): 1018-2438

ISSN (electronic): 1423-0097

Publisher: S. Karger AG


DOI: 10.1159/000049500

Notes: 1018-2438 Journal Article Review Review, Tutorial


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