Aims: The aim of our study was to analyse the level of circulating interleukin-10 (IL-10) and relate it to the grade of albuminuria in patients with diabetic nephropathy (DN) due to type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM). Since IL-10 has met the criteria for an anti-inflammatory and an immunosuppressive cytokine, its activity may be important for clinical outcome of DN.
Methods: The IL-10 level was measured by ELISA in serum samples from thirty patients with DN due to type 1 DM, and compared with thirty patients with type 1 DM without DN and a control group of thirty, healthy, age- and sex-matched people.
Results: We observed a greatly elevated concentration of circulating IL-10 in 30/30 DM patients with DN (mean 140 pg/mL +/- 102), compared to DM patients without DN in whom IL-10 was detectable in only 11/30 patients (0.79 pg/mL +/- 1.24), and the group of healthy people in whom IL-10 was detectable in only 3/30 donors (0.92 pg/mL +/- 0.17). IL-10 appeared to be the strongest independent predictor of albuminuria, followed by HbA1c, diastolic blood pressure and DN duration. There was a positive correlation between the values of IL-10 and albuminuria in DM patients with DN. The patients in the fourth quartile of albuminuria had a distinctly higher concentration of IL-10 than those in the lower quartiles.
Conclusions: The increased concentration of IL-10 in the serum samples from DM patients with DN seems to depend on the severity of the nephropathy. The excessive IL-10 production may indirectly contribute towards DN progression. On the other hand, it may explain the relatively long course of diabetic nephropathy.