A Call to Arms: The Cytokine Selection Service

Science's STKE  17 Jul 2001:
Vol. 2001, Issue 91, pp. pe2
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2001.91.pe2

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The process by which naïve T helper (TH) cells differentiate into the TH1 and TH2 subtypes has been well studied. However, there remain some unresolved issues pertaining to the requirements for the initial step of TH cell differentiation. Much debate exists about whether the roles of cytokines include the forcing of the initial steps of differentiation on naïve TH cells, termed "instruction," or whether cytokines act in a supportive role, termed "selection," whereby newly differentiating TH cells are given the proper signals for survival and proliferation. A recent paper by Mullen et al., which helps delineate the role of cytokines in TH1 cell development, is addressed by Nelson; it appears that cytokines act in the selection stage of TH cell maturation.

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