Sepsis is a syndrome involving systemic inflammation as well as an infectious focus. Accordingly, the host immune response to sepsis involves complex leukocyte interplay that is incompletely understood. It is known that the immunoregulatory cytokine, IL-10, is rapidly expressed during the early stages of sepsis. In a murine model of sepsis, we sought to elucidate which leukocytes are early IL-10 producers. Using a novel IL-10 transcriptional reporter mouse, we observed that splenic leukocytes produced little IL-10. At the site of infection, peritoneal neutrophils produced the highest levels of IL-10 among leukocytes. Using cytokine antibody labeling, we further show that peritoneal neutrophils had high amounts of intracellular IL-10. We next depleted neutrophils and found a 40% decrease in peritoneal IL-10 levels. Altogether, this report demonstrates that among leukocytes, neutrophils are significant contributors of IL-10 at the site of infection during sepsis.
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