IL-10 plays an essential part in controlling inflammation and instructing adaptive immune responses. Consequently, dysregulation of IL-10 is linked with susceptibility to numerous infectious and autoimmune diseases in mouse models and in humans. It has become increasingly clear that appropriate temporal/spatial expression of IL-10 may be the key to how IL-10 contributes to the delicate balance between inflammation and immunoregulation. The mechanisms that govern the cell type- and receptor-specific induction of IL-10, however, remain unclear. This is due largely to the wide distribution of cellular sources that express IL-10 under diverse stimulation conditions and in a variety of tissue compartments. Further complicating the issue is the fact that human IL-10 expression patterns appear to be under genetic influence resulting in differential expression and disease susceptibility. In this review, we discuss the cellular sources of IL-10, their link to disease phenotypes and the molecular mechanisms implicated in IL-10 regulation.