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What are Th2 Cytokines?

By T. Carrier
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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T helper cells produce th2 cytokines, which aid in the human immune system’s overall function. Th2 cytokines are messenger proteins that include interleukins 4, 5, 10, and 13. Ihe interleukens — another name for cytokines — are crucial in antibody production, white blood cell interactions, and bodily anti-inflammatory responses.

Cytokines in general can be produced by nervous system glial cells or immune system cells. These cell-secreted proteins are the conduits of communication between cells in the body. When the body releases cytokines, they can either circulate or move directly into tissue. White blood cells in the immune system create and distribute th2 cytokines.

The t helper cell th2 specifically secretes th2 cytokines. T helper cells play an important role in the body because they direct and control various cells and responses to fight invading organisms like bacteria. The thymus gland houses t helper cells. Th2 cells control B-cells, which are white blood cells that form antibodies that attack infectious pathogens outside of cells. After th2 cytokines are released, they locate immune cells throughout the body and then bind to these cells, triggering specific immune responses

Immune cytokines can be either th1 or th2, and the two types differ in a few important ways. The most apparent difference is that th1 cytokines are produced by th1 helper cells, as opposed to th2 helper cells. Whether an attacking virus or bacteria invades inside or outside of cells is also important, as intracellular invaders tend to trigger th1 cytokine responses, while outside agents call upon th2 cytokine responses. As such, th1 cytokines activate white blood cells called macrophages inside of tissues. In contrast, th2 cytokines activate antibodies in what is known as a humoral immune response, and this type of response will most likely occur when the concentration of an invading substance is high.

Cytokines are also called interleukins, and various interleukins work together to balance the body’s delicate immune responses. Some th2 interleukins stimulate the body to produce antibodies and interact with white blood cells, such as interleukins 4, 5, and 13. Others promote the generation of themselves and other th2 cytokines, like interleukin 4. Some th2 cytokines also inhibit certain th1 cell and cytokine activity and thus provide balance — interleukin 10 being an example. Interleukin 10 also aids in the immune system’s anti-inflammatory allergic responses.

While t helper cells and their cytokines benefit humans in many ways, they can also prove detrimental in some cases. If these particles overreact and become hypersensitive to even harmless substances, they can create allergic diseases like atopy in an individual. In contrast, some invading substances can harm t helper cells and their cytokines and thus adversely impact the entire immune system. The HIV virus is perhaps the most notorious such pathogen.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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