Functional subsets of human T cells were delineated by analyzing patterns of lymphokines produced by clones from individuals with leprosy and by T cell clones of known function. CD4 clones from individuals with strong cell-mediated immunity produced predominantly interferon-γ, whereas those clones that enhanced antibody formation produced interleukin-4. CD8 cytotoxic T cells secreted interferon-γ. Interleukin-4 was produced by CD8 T suppressor clones from immunologically unresponsive individuals with leprosy and was found to be necessary for suppression in vitro. Both the classic reciprocal relation between antibody formation and cell-mediated immunity and resistance or susceptibility to certain infections may be explained by T cell subsets differing in patterns of lymphokine production.
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