Seesaw of Th1 and Th2 in Autoimmune Disorders
Autoimmune diseases stem from imbalances within the functioning of the patient’s immune system. This imbalance is witnessed due to many factors, such as stress, malnutrition, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, inappropriate gut flora, and allergies. These are the common etiologies that are considered while diagnosing any autoimmune disease. 

However, this article describes the basic explanation about the mechanism of T-helper (Th) cells disturbing the immune system, as well as the factors causing this imbalance.

What are Th1 and Th2?

T-helper cells (Th) are an important part of the immune system. They are lymphocytes that recognize foreign pathogens or normal tissues in autoimmune diseases. Cytokines are produced as a response. These Th cells are divided into subgroups:

Th1

Th2

Involved in “cell-mediated” immunity

Involved in “humoral-mediated” immunity

Usually deals with infections by viruses and certain bacteria

Usually deals with infections by bacteria, toxins, and allergens

Body’s first line of defense against pathogens that get inside our cells

Stimulating the production of antibodies in response to extracellular pathogens (those found in blood or other body fluids)

Tend to be pro-inflammatory

Tend to be anti-inflammatory

Involved in the development of organ-specific autoimmune disease

Involved in systemic autoimmune disease and other chronic conditions


In a well-functioning immune system, both groups of these T helper cells work together to keep the system balanced. One side might become more active to eradicate a threat, then settling back to a balanced level. 

Effect of Th Responses in Autoimmune Disease


An alteration in Th1-Th2 balance causes various autoimmune diseases. This is described in the figure.


When the Th1 cells of the immune system are overactive, they can suppress the activity of Th2 and vice versa. This can be problematic, because these two components of the immune system function in a delicately balanced relationship. In the case of autoimmune disease, an imbalance can further the attack on healthy tissue, thereby worsening symptoms. 

Maintaining a balance between Th1 and Th2 immunological responses is paramount to healthy immune functionality.

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