The Journal of experimental medicine

Selective expression of an interleukin-12 receptor component by human T helper 1 cells.

PMID 9120388


Interleukin-12 (IL-12), a heterodimeric cytokine produced by activated monocytes and dendritic cells, plays a crucial role in regulating interferon (IFN)-gamma production and in the generation of IFN-gamma-producing T helper 1 (Th1) cells. Here we show that the IL-12 receptor (IL-12R) beta 2 subunit, a recently cloned binding and signal transducing component of the IL-12R, is expressed on human Th1 but not Th2 clones and is induced during differentiation of human naive cells along the Th1 but not the Th2 pathway. IL-12 and type I but not type II interferons induce expression of the IL-12R beta 2 chain during in vitro T cell differentiation after antigen receptor triggering. The selective expression and regulation of the IL-12R beta 2 subunit may help to understand the basis of Th1/Th2 differentiation and may provide therapeutic options for altering the Th1/Th2 balance in several immuno-pathological conditions such as autoimmune diseases and allergies.