The T-helper (Th1/Th2) paradigm is widely studied for its role in modulating an adaptive immune response, especially in relation to the onset of various autoimmune diseases. In fact, emerging evidence clearly shows an inverse relationship between Th1/Th2 cytokines and the development of type 2 diabetes (T2D) complications, which is accelerated by an exacerbated inflammatory state. Here, relevant studies reporting on any association between the levels of Th1/Th2 cytokines and the development of T2D were retrieved through major electronic databases such as The Cochrane Library, Embase and PubMed. Extracted evidence which mostly involved animal models and human subjects with T2D or metabolic syndrome was assessed for quality and risk of bias using the Downs and Black checklist and Animal Research: Reporting of In Vivo Experiments (ARRIVE) guidelines. Results strongly correlated raised Th1/Th2 cytokines such as interferon-gamma (IFN-γ)/interleukin (IL)-5 and IL-2/IL-5 ratios to T2D, and this was positively linked with the other complications including retinopathy and cardiovascular complications. Further, logistic regression analysis demonstrated that the Th1/Th2 ratios were significantly associated with impaired glucose homeostasis, abnormally enhanced lipid profiles, and insulin resistance. Although more studies making use of a larger sample size are required, current data suggest that optimal modulation of Th1/Th2 cytokines may be an important aspect in the management of T2D and its associated complications.
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