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The role of Th1/Th2 polarization in mucosal immunity


Mucosal immunity relies on the delicate balance between antigen responsiveness and tolerance. The polarization of T helper cells plays a key role in maintaining or disrupting this equilibrium.

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Correspondence to Markus F. Neurath.

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Figure 1: Inductive sites of the MALT: Whereas the NALT appears to be the major inductive site for mucosal immunity to inhaled antigens, the GALT (for example, Peyer's patches in the small bowel and colonic follicles in the large bowel) is the major inductive site for the gastrointestinal tract.

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Figure 2: Cytokine production by mucosal T-helper cells in response to antigens.

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Figure 3: Induction of pathogenic Th1 and Th2 immune responses at effector sites of the mucosal immune system using Th1-dependent chronic intestinal inflammation and Th2-dependent airway/lung inflammation as examples.

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Figure 4: Cytokine signaling in T lymphocytes via IFN-γ, IL-12 and IL-4.

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