Helper T cells have the function to help other immune cells through the production and secretion of cytokines. These T cells can be divided into different subsets. The subsets are based on the expression of particular surface markers and on the cytokine production of the helper T cell.
Types of Helper T Cells
- CD 4-expressing T Helper Cells: They help B cells and to assist them in the process of differentiation into plasma cells. Helper T cells are able to do that by producing and secreting cytokines like IL-4. In addition, in order to help the particular B cell, the T cell has to be in direct contact with it.
- TH1 Helper Cells: These helper cells secrete TNF and interferon gamma. "TNF" stands for tumour necrosis factor. Interferon-gamma helps with the activation of macrophages and stimulation of an inflammatory response. In addition, TH1 helper cells produce antibodies, such as IgG1 and IgG3.
- TH2 Helper Cells: These helper cells secrete IL-10 and IL-4. IL-4 aids B cell class switching to the IgE and IgG1 isotypes.
- TH17 Helper Cells: These helper cells secrete IL-17.