Regulatory T cell-derived interleukin-10 limits inflammation at environmental interfaces

Immunity. 2008 Apr;28(4):546-58. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2008.02.017.


The regulatory T (Treg) cells restrain immune responses through suppressor-function elaboration that is dependent upon expression of the transcription factor Foxp3. Despite a critical role for Treg cells in maintaining lympho-myeloid homeostasis, it remains unclear whether a single mechanism or multiple mechanisms of Treg cell-mediated suppression are operating in vivo and how redundant such mechanisms might be. Here we addressed these questions by examining the role of the immunomodulatory cytokine IL-10 in Treg cell-mediated suppression. Analyses of mice in which the Treg cell-specific ablation of a conditional IL-10 allele was induced by Cre recombinase knocked into the Foxp3 gene locus showed that although IL-10 production by Treg cells was not required for the control of systemic autoimmunity, it was essential for keeping immune responses in check at environmental interfaces such as the colon and lungs. Our study suggests that Treg cells utilize multiple means to limit immune responses. Furthermore, these mechanisms are likely to be nonredundant, in that a distinct suppressor mechanism most likely plays a prominent and identifiable role at a particular tissue and inflammatory setting.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoimmune Diseases / genetics
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / prevention & control
  • Colitis / genetics
  • Colitis / immunology
  • Colitis / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / physiology
  • Inflammation Mediators / metabolism
  • Inflammation Mediators / physiology*
  • Integrases / genetics
  • Interleukin-10 / deficiency
  • Interleukin-10 / genetics
  • Interleukin-10 / physiology*
  • Luminescent Proteins / genetics
  • Lung / immunology
  • Lung / metabolism
  • Lung / pathology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Organ Specificity / genetics
  • Organ Specificity / immunology
  • Skin / immunology
  • Skin / metabolism
  • Skin / pathology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / metabolism*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / pathology


  • Forkhead Transcription Factors
  • Foxp3 protein, mouse
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Luminescent Proteins
  • Interleukin-10
  • Cre recombinase
  • Integrases