Pathological ocular manifestations result from a dysregulation in the balance between proinflammatory type 1 cytokines and regulatory type 2 cytokines. Interleukin-10 (IL-10) is an anti-inflammatory cytokine with potent immunosuppressive effects. We have examined the efficiency of viral IL-10 adenovirus (Ad-vIL-10)-mediated gene transfer on experimental autoimmune uveoretinitis (EAU) induced in mice and rats by purified retinal autoantigens, respectively, interphotoreceptor binding protein (IRBP) and S-antigen (S-Ag). B10-A mice that received a single unilateral injection of Ad-vIL-10 in the retro-orbital sinus venosus performed 1 day before immunization with IRBP in the footpads showed high levels of circulating vIL-10 in their sera and a significant reduction in pathological ocular manifestations. Lower levels of IFN-gamma and IL-2 were found in cellular supernatants from IRBP-stimulated splenic cells in these treated mice. The local effect on ocular disease of vIL-10 was neutralized completely by injection of a monoclonal anti-vIL-10 antibody, demonstrating the specificity of the treatment. To determine whether the transfer of the vIL-10 gene within the periocular tissues of the eye could prevent acute EAU, a subconjunctival injection of Ad-vIL-10 was performed in Lewis rats simultaneously with S-antigen in the footpads. This injection determined in situ vIL-10 expression with very low circulating vIL-10 and led to a significant reduction of EAU without affecting the systemic immune response. The present results suggest that Ad-mediated gene transfer resulting in systemic and local expression of vIL-10 provide a promising approach for the treatment of uveitis.