Contextual regulation of inflammation: a duet by transforming growth factor-beta and interleukin-10

Immunity. 2008 Apr;28(4):468-76. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2008.03.003.


Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) and interleukin-10 (IL-10) are regulatory cytokines with pleiotropic roles in the immune system. The prominent function of TGF-beta is to maintain T cell tolerance to self or innocuous environmental antigens via its direct effects on the differentiation and homeostasis of effector and regulatory T cells. A critical route for the regulation of T cells by TGF-beta is via activation of a T cell-produced latent form of TGF-beta1 by dendritic cell-expressed avbeta8 integrin. IL-10 operates primarily as a feedback inhibitor of exuberant T cell responses to microbial antigens. T cells are also the principal producers of IL-10, the expression of which is regulated by IL-27, IL-6, and TGF-beta. The collective activity of TGF-beta and IL-10 ensures a controlled inflammatory response specifically targeting pathogens without evoking excessive immunopathology to self-tissues.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Feedback, Physiological / immunology
  • Humans
  • Infections / immunology
  • Infections / microbiology
  • Infections / pathology
  • Infections / virology
  • Inflammation / immunology*
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Inflammation / microbiology
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Inflammation Mediators / metabolism
  • Inflammation Mediators / physiology*
  • Interleukin-10 / physiology*
  • Mice
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / pathology
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / physiology*


  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Interleukin-10