We investigated whether polyclonal murine Th1 and Th2 cells obtained after short term culture in vitro were capable of mediating tissue inflammation in vivo. Th cells were pulsed with mAb to the TCR/CD3 complex and injected into the footpads or ears of naive syngeneic recipient mice. Th1 induced delayed swelling that peaked at 24 to 48 h and lasted > or = 5 days. Th2-induced swelling peaked at 6 h and lasted < or = 48 h. Similar responses were also observed in athymic nude mice. Lesions with both Th1 and Th2 cells contained a predominant neutrophilic infiltrate at 6 h, and mainly mononuclear cells at 48 h. The inflammatory response with Th2 was blocked by cyclosporin A, by mAb to IL-4 or by soluble rIL-4R. The requirement for IL-4 was early and transient. Four alloreactive short term Th2 clones induced swelling in allogeneic recipients. mAb- and IL-4-dependent swelling responses were also observed with two long term Th2 clones. Our results demonstrate that Th2 cells mediate IL-4-dependent tissue inflammation, and strengthen the concept that Th2 cells play an important role in some T cell-dependent immune reactions and, possibly, in allergic disorders such as atopic dermatitis and allergic asthma.

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