Presence of antigen presenting cells, expression of costimulatory molecules, the strength of first signal and cytokine milieu are quite important in influencing the reactivation of differentiated Th1 and Th2 cells.
In the present study, we have analyzed the concerted action of pro-Th1 and pro-Th2 cytokines in the presence of B cells, peritoneal and splenic macrophages as antigen presenting cells and varied concentration of first (anti-CD3 Ab) and second (B7-1 transfectant) signals on the proliferation and cytokine secretion by Th1 and Th2 cells. Interesting observations were made that IFN-γ significantly augmented the secretion of IL-4 by Th2 cells when either B cells or splenic or peritoneal macrophages were used as APC. Further, IFN-γ significantly inhibited the proliferation of Th1 cells only in the presence of peritoneal macrophages. We have also observed that B cells could significantly respond to cytokines to further enhance the proliferation and cytokine release by Th1 and Th2 cells. But not much effect on addition of exogenous cytokines IL-1, IL-4, IL-5, IL-12 was observed on the proliferation of Th1 and Th2 cells in the presence of macrophages. In contrast, both IFN-γ and IL-2 significantly enhanced the production of IL-4 and IL-5 respectively, by Th2 cells in presence of B cells, splenic and peritoneal macrophages. Another important observation was that the addition of B7-1 transfectants in the cultures, which were stimulated with low dose of anti-CD3 Ab significantly, enhanced the proliferation and cytokine secretion.
This study indicates involvement of different type of APCs, cytokine milieu, dose of first and second signals in a concerted manner in the outcome of the immune response. The significance of this study is that the immunization with antigen along with costimulatory molecules may significantly reduce the dose of antigen and can generate better immune response than antigen alone.