Checking the Immune System Th1 / Th2 Balance Profile is a valuable aid, especially in patients with autoimmune diseases, 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 is Th1 and Th2 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.
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 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
Why is it necessary to check the Immune System?
In order for the human body to function properly, it needs an intact immune system that will work in a coordinated and effective way, recognizing and destroying only harmful internal and external invaders (viruses, bacteria, parasites, yeast/fungi, cancer cells) and at the same time, this reaction should be limited to be absolutely necessary and not destructive to normal tissues.
In other words, the immune system must be structurally intact but also functionally balanced.
Many times, due to stress or immunosuppression or large microbial load or for other reasons, the immune system exhibits a Th2 reaction instead of the expected Th1 (and vice versa). In these cases, with the help of appropriate therapeutic manipulation, the balance can come back and thus deal with the deflection.
When Th1 cells of the immune system are hyperactive, they can suppress the action of Th2 and vice versa. This can lead to problems as these two components of the immune system are in a delicate, absolutely balanced relationship. In the case of autoimmune diseases, the imbalance can lead to the destruction of healthy tissue, thus aggravating symptoms.
Becoming aware of the actual state of the immune system in terms of Th1/Th2 balance and in relation to the underlying disease, suitable therapeutic manipulations can be made to return the equilibrium to the immune system. There are natural substances that stimulate Th1 (Astragalus, Echinacea, Ginseng, etc.) or Th2 (Caffeine, Lycopene, Resveratrol, etc.) immune response