Corticosteroid modulation of human, antigen-specific Th1 and TH2 responses

Christine M. Braun, Shau Ku Huang, Gregory G. Bashian, Anne Kagey-Sobotka, Lawrence M. Lichtenstein, David M. Essayan

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92 Citations (Scopus)


Corticosteroids are potent antiinflammatory agents that modulate human T-lymphocyte responses. Controversy remains as to their possible differential effects on Th1 and Th2 subsets. This study explores the kinetics and efficacy of these agents in human, antigen-driven peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and in nontransformed, antigen-specific Th1 and Th2 clones. Ragweed- and tetanus toxoid-driven proliferative responses of PBMCs from dually sensitized individuals were downregulated equally by dexamethasone (inhibitory concentration of 50% [IC50] = 3 x 10-9 and 2 x 10-9 mol/L, respectively). The addition of dexamethasone as late as 36 hours after ragweed stimulation still resulted in more than 75% inhibition of the proliferative response, whereas the efficacy of dexamethasone was less than 50% when added 24 hours after tetanus toxoid stimulation. Anti-gert-induced gene expression for proinflammatory cytokines (IL-4, IL-5, IL-13, and interferon-γ) from PBMCs was also downregulated by dexamethasone. Proliferation of antigen-specific Th1 and Th2 clones was inhibited by several cortico steroids (hydrocortisone < budesonide < dexamethasone; IC50 = 10- 6 to 10-8 mol/L), but no significant differences between Th1 and Th2 clones were evident. IC50 values in the clones were 10-fold greater than in PBMCs. Gene expression and protein secretion for IL-4, IL-13, and interferon- γ were downregulated in a concentration-dependent manner by each of the corticosteroids in Th1 and Th2 clones. These data suggest that Th1 and Th2 responses are equally affected by corticosteroids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)400-407
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Corticosteroids
  • Human
  • IL-13
  • IL-4
  • Interferon-γ
  • Th1/Th2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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