Interleukin-10: new perspectives on an old cytokine

Immunol Rev. 2008 Dec;226:205-18. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-065X.2008.00706.x.


Interleukin-10 (IL-10) has long been recognized to have potent and broad-spectrum anti-inflammatory activity, which has been unequivocally established in various models of infection, inflammation, and even in cancer. However, because of the marginal successes of the initial clinical trials using recombinant IL-10, some of the interest in this cytokine as an anti-inflammatory therapeutic has diminished. New work showing IL-10 production from regulatory T cells and even T-helper 1 T cells has reinvigorated the field and revealed the power of this cytokine to influence immune responses. Furthermore, new preclinical studies suggest that combination therapies, using antibodies to IL-10 along with chemotherapy, can be effective in treating bacterial, viral, or neoplastic diseases. Studies to understand IL-10 gene expression in the various cell types may lead to new therapeutics to enhance or inhibit IL-10 production. In this review, we summarize what is known about the regulation of IL-10 gene expression by various immune cells. We speculate on the promise that this cytokine holds to influence immune responses and mitigate immune pathologies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / immunology*
  • Inflammation / therapy
  • Interleukin-10 / genetics*
  • Interleukin-10 / immunology*
  • Interleukin-10 / therapeutic use
  • Mice
  • Polymorphism, Genetic / genetics
  • Receptors, Interleukin-10 / immunology*
  • Receptors, Interleukin-10 / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • Receptors, Interleukin-10
  • Transcription Factors
  • Interleukin-10