Checking the Immune System Th1 / Th2 / Th17 Balance Profile is a valuable aid, especially in patients with autoimmune diseases and other disorders of the immune system, in order to design the appropriate individualized treatment interventions. The test finds possible imbalances in the immune system by monitoring specific cytokines, proteins that are used by the immune system to communicate with its individual cells.
What are Th1, Th2, and Th17 immunity?
Helper T lymphocytes (Th, T helpers) are a vital part of the immune system. They are lymphocytes that recognize foreign pathogens or, in the case of autoimmune diseases, normal tissues. In response to this recognition, they produce cytokines, which are hormonal messenger proteins responsible for the biological effects of the immune system. They are divided into subgroups as follows:
Th1: Th1 cells are involved in what is called "cellular" or "cell-mediated" immunity, which usually deals with infections caused by viruses and certain microbes. This is the body's first line of defense against pathogens that enter into cells (intracellular). They tend to be pre-inflammatory and are involved in the development of autoimmune diseases associated with specific target organs. The Th1 immune response is characterized by strong phagocytic activity.
Th2: Th2 cells are involved in what is called "humoral" immunity, which usually deals with microbes, toxins, and allergens. They are responsible for stimulating the production of antibodies in response to pathogens that are outside the cells (extracellular), either in the blood or in other body fluids. They tend to be anti-inflammatory and are involved in systemic autoimmune diseases and other chronic diseases. The Th2 immune response is characterized by high antibody titers.
Th17: Th17 cells have only been identified in recent years. The Th17 response is important in defense against extracellular agents (microbes, yeast/fungi, mycobacteria), autoimmune and chronic inflammatory diseases, in successful pregnancies, and in complications of pregnancy (eg preeclampsia and recurrent miscarriages). Furthermore, the Th17 response is important in the defense of mucosal surfaces. They tend to be inflammatory.
In a normal functioning immune system, all groups of helper T cells work together to keep the system in balance. When one group becomes more active in order to eliminate a threat, then (usually with the involvement of the other subsystems) it returns to an equilibrium level.
How does the Th1 / Th2 / Th17 balance affect the organism?
Patients with certain autoimmune diseases and other pathological conditions of hypersensitivity (allergies) or cancer have been shown to have immune reactions dominated by either Th1 or Th2 reactions. Following the recent discovery of the Th17 subsystem, the study of various diseases in relation to the Th17 response has begun. As such there are diseases that are found in both Th17 and one of Th1 or Th2. As research progresses, the role of each immune subsystem in relation to specific diseases becomes clearer.
Conditions with a predominance of Th1
- Type I diabetes
- Multiple sclerosis
- Hashimoto's thyroiditis
- Graves' disease
- Crohn's disease
- Sjogren's syndrome
- Celiac disease
- Lichen planus
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Chronic viral infections
Conditions with a predominance of Th2
- Allergic dermatitis
- Atopic eczema
- Ulcerative colitis
- Multiple chemical sensitivity
Conditions with a predominance of Th17
- Various autoimmune diseases: Hashimoto's thyroiditis, Multiple sclerosis, Type I diabetes, Systemic lupus erythematosus, Uveitis, Autoimmune myocarditis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Inflammatory bowel diseases
- Irritable bowel syndrome (sometimes)
- Hepatitis C
- Hepatitis B
- Periodontal disease
- Chronic Lyme disease
- Infertility in women and recurrent miscarriages
- Different types of cancer (Th17 works beneficially)