The differentiation of CD4+ T-helper cell subsets in the context of helminth parasite infection

Tiffany Bouchery, Ryan Kyle, Franca Ronchese, Graham Le Gros

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleOtherpeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


Helminths are credited with being the major selective force driving the evolution of the so-called "type 2" immune responses in vertebrate animals, with their size and infection strategies presenting unique challenges to the immune system. Originally, type 2 immune responses were defined by the presence and activities of the CD4+ T-helper 2 subset producing the canonical cytokines IL-4, IL-5, and IL-13. This picture is now being challenged by the discovery of a more complex pattern of CD4+ T-helper cell subsets that appear during infection, including Tregs, Th17, Tfh, and more recently, Th22, Th9, and ThGM. In addition, a clearer view of the mechanisms by which helminths and their products selectively prime the CD4+ T-cell subsets is emerging. In this review, we have focused on recent data concerning the selective priming, differentiation, and functional role of CD4+ T-helper cell subsets in the context of helminth infection. We argue for a re-evaluation of the original Th2 paradigm and discuss how the observed plasticity of the T-helper subsets may enable the parasitized host to achieve an appropriate compromise between elimination, tissue repair, containment, and pathology.

Original languageEnglish
Article number487
Number of pages13
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Issue numberOCT
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • CD4 T cells
  • Differentiation
  • Helminth
  • TfH
  • Th17
  • Th2
  • Th9

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