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Different Effects of IL-4 and IFN Gamma on T Helper Cells

Describe the effects of IL-4 and IFN gamma on T helper cells. How do T helper subsets explain T suppressor activity?

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T helper cells can be stimulated to differentiate down one of two mutually exclusive pathways, by a process termed polarization. Interleukin 12 and Interferon gamma polarize T helper cells towards a Th1 pathway, whereas IL-4 polarizes towards a Th2 pathway. Th1 cells are responsible for delayed type hypersensitivity ...

Solution Summary

Cytokines have a strong influence on the T cell response, directing type of immune response that is induced. Two of the most critical cytokines in this regard are IL-4 and interferon gamma, as they can control the type of CD4 T cell response. Aberrant induction of the wrong type of CD4 T cell response can cause the inability to clear an infection, or cause pathology instead of protecting the host. This solution describes how these cytokines act to polarize the response, and how polarization of the response can be mis-interpreted as suppression of the response.