Differential activation of CD4+ T cell subsets in vivo leads to the development of qualitatively different effector responses. We identify an approach that allows selective activation of strongly Th1-dominated immune responses to protein antigens. Whereas in vivo administration of ovalbumin (OVA) induces cytokine synthesis that is neither Th1 nor Th2 dominated, administration of glutaraldehyde polymerized, high relative molecular weight OVA (OA-POL) leads to 20-fold increase in the ratio of interferon gamma (IFN-gamma)/IL-4 and IFN-gamma/IL-10 synthesis observed after short-term, antigen-mediated restimulation directly ex vivo. In contrast, concurrent in vivo administration of anti-IFN-gamma mAb and OVA or OA-POL results in marked increases in IL-4 and IL-10, and decreased IFN-gamma production, reflecting a polarization of the response towards a Th2-like pattern of cytokine synthesis. These observations may be useful in clinical settings including hypersensitivity, autoimmune diseases, and vaccine development where the ability to actively select specific patterns of cytokine gene expression would be advantageous.

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