Cytokines are proteins produced by many different cells of the immune system and play a significant role in initiating and regulating the inflammatory process. In this research, an important cytokine, interleukin-10 (IL-10) gene, has been identified and characterized from zebrafish (Danio rerio) genome database. Zebrafish IL-10 is located within a 2690 bp fragment and contains five exons and four introns, sharing the same organization with mammalian IL-10 genes. An open reading frame of 543 bp was found to encode a putative 180 amino acid protein with a signal peptide of 22 amino acids, which shares 29.7-80.9 % homology with amino acid sequences of other known IL-10. The signature motif of IL-10 is also conserved in zebrafish IL-10. The predicted transcript was finally confirmed by sequencing of cDNA clones. Multi-tissue reverse transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR) was performed to examine the tissue distribution and expression regulation of this gene in seven organs of normal and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) stimulation zebrafish. The results demonstrated that this gene was expressed slightly in normal kidney, gill and gut, no expression was detected in other four tissues. The expression was clearly upregulated after LPS stimulation. Using the ideal zebrafish model, further study of IL-10 characterization and function may provide insight on the understanding of the innate immune system.