B cell response to T helper cell subsets. II. Both the stage of T cell differentiation and the cytokines secreted determine the extent and nature of helper activity

M Croft, S L Swain
Journal of Immunology 1991 December 1, 147 (11): 3679-89
Helper activity of several murine CD4+ T cell subsets was examined. Effector Th, derived from naive cells after 4 days of in vitro stimulation with alloantigen, when generated in the presence of IL-4, secreted high levels of IL-4, IL-5, and IL-6, and low levels of IL-2 and IFN-gamma, and induced the secretion of all Ig isotypes particularly IgM, IgG1, IgA, and IgE from resting allogeneic B cells. Effectors generated with IL-6 secreted IL-2, IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, and IFN-gamma, and induced similar levels of total Ig, 25 to 35 micrograms/ml, but with IgM, IgG3, IgG1, and IgG2a isotypes predominating. Helper activity of these Th was significantly greater than that of effectors generated with IL-2 (10-15 micrograms/ml Ig) and of 24-h-activated naive and memory cells (2-4 micrograms/ml), both of which induced mainly IgM. Unlike other isotypes, IgE was induced only by effector Th generated with IL-4. Blocking studies showed that secretion of all isotypes in response to IL-6-primed effectors was dependent on IL-2, IL-5, and IL-6. IL-4 was required for optimal IgM, IgG1, and IgA secretion, but limited secretion of IgG2a, whereas IFN-gamma was required for optimal IgG2a secretion, and limited IgM, IgG1, and IgA. In contrast, secretion of all isotypes in response to IL-4-primed effectors was dependent on IL-5, although IL-4 and IFN-gamma were also essential for IgE and IgG2a, respectively. Addition of exogenous IL-5 to B cell cultures driven by IL-6-primed effectors did not obviate the requirement for IL-2, IL-4, and IL-6, suggesting that interaction of IL-4-primed effectors with B cells was qualitatively different from that of IL-6-primed effectors, driving B cells to a stage requiring only IL-5 for differentiation. Addition of exogenous factors to IL-2-primed effector Th, particularly IL-4 in the presence of anti-IFN-gamma, resulted in levels of Ig, including IgE, comparable to those induced with other effectors. These results show that functionally distinct Th cell subsets can be generated rapidly in vitro, under the influence of distinct cytokines, which vary dramatically in their levels of help for resting B cells. The cytokines involved in responses to distinct Th cells differ depending on the quality of interaction with the B cell, and the extent of help is strongly determined by the quantity and nature of cytokines secreted by the T cells.

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