Type 1, and Type 2 cytokine dysregulation in human infectious, neoplastic, and inflammatory diseases

Daniel R. Lucey, Mario Clerici, Gene M. Shearer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the mid-1980s, Mosmann, Coffman, and their colleagues discovered that murine CD4+ helper T-cell clones could be distinguished by the cytokines they synthesized. The isolation of human Th1 and Th2 clones by Romagnani and coworkers in the early 1990s has led to a large number of reports on the effects of Th1 and Th2 on the human immune system. More recently, cells other than CD4+ T cells, including CD8+ T cells, monocytes, NK cells, B cells, eosinophils, mast cells, basophils, and other cells, have been shown to be capable of producing 'Th1' and 'Th2' cytokines. In this review, we examine the literature on human diseases, using the nomenclature of type 1 (Th1-like) and type 2 (Th2-like) cytokines, which includes all cell types producing these cytokines rather than only CD4+ T cells. Type 1 cytokines include interleukin-2 (IL-2), gamma interferon, IL-12 and tumor necrosis factor beta, while type 2 cytokines include IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-10, and IL-13. In general, type 1 cytokines favor the development of a strong cellular immune response whereas type 2 cytokines favor a strong humoral immune response. Some of these type 1 and type 2 cytokines are cross-regulatory. For example, gamma interferon and IL-12 decrease the levels of type 2 cytokines whereas IL-4 and IL-10 decrease the levels of type 1 cytokines. We use this cytokine perspective to examine human diseases including infections due to viruses, bacteria, parasites, and fungi, as well as selected neoplastic, atopic, rheumatologic, autoimmune, and idiopathic-inflammatory conditions. Clinically, type 1 cytokine-predominant responses should be suspected in any delayed-type hypersensitivity-like granulomatous reactions and in infections with intracellular pathogens, whereas conditions involving hypergammaglobulinemia, increased immunoglobulin E levels, and/or eosinophilia are suggestive of type 2 cytokine-predominant conditions. If this immunologic concept is relevant to human diseases, the potential exists for novel cytokine-based therapies and novel cytokine-directed preventive vaccines for such diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)532-562
Number of pages31
JournalClinical Microbiology Reviews
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology


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