IL-10 within the CNS is necessary for CD4+ T cells to mediate neuroprotection

Brain Behav Immun. 2011 Jul;25(5):820-9. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2010.08.004. Epub 2010 Aug 17.


We have previously shown that immunodeficient mice exhibit significant facial motoneuron (FMN) loss compared to wild-type (WT) mice after a facial nerve axotomy. Interleukin-10 (IL-10) is known as a regulatory cytokine that plays an important role in maintaining the anti-inflammatory environment within the central nervous system (CNS). IL-10 is produced by a number of different cells, including Th2 cells, and may exert an anti-apoptotic action on neurons directly. In the present study, the role of IL-10 in mediating neuroprotection following facial nerve axotomy in Rag-2- and IL-10-deficient mice was investigated. Results indicate that IL-10 is neuroprotective, but CD4+ T cells are not the requisite source of IL-10. In addition, using real-time PCR analysis of laser microdissected brainstem sections, results show that IL-10 mRNA is constitutively expressed in the facial nucleus and that a transient, significant reduction of IL-10 mRNA occurs following axotomy under immunodeficient conditions. Dual labeling immunofluorescence data show, unexpectedly, that the IL-10 receptor (IL-10R) is constitutively expressed by facial motoneurons, but is selectively induced in astrocytes within the facial nucleus after axotomy. Thus, a non-CD4+ T cell source of IL-10 is necessary for modulating both glial and neuronal events that mediate neuroprotection of injured motoneurons, but only with the cooperation of CD4+ T cells, providing an avenue of novel investigation into therapeutic approaches to prevent or reverse motoneuron diseases, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

MeSH terms

  • Adoptive Transfer
  • Animals
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / physiology*
  • Central Nervous System / immunology*
  • Central Nervous System / physiology
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Facial Nerve Injuries / immunology
  • Facial Nerve Injuries / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Immunity, Cellular / immunology
  • Immunity, Cellular / physiology*
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Inflammation / physiopathology
  • Interleukin-10 / immunology
  • Interleukin-10 / physiology*
  • Interleukin-10 Receptor alpha Subunit / immunology
  • Interleukin-10 Receptor alpha Subunit / physiology
  • Interleukin-10 Receptor beta Subunit / immunology
  • Interleukin-10 Receptor beta Subunit / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Motor Neurons / immunology
  • Motor Neurons / physiology
  • Neurons / immunology
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Interleukin-10 Receptor alpha Subunit
  • Interleukin-10 Receptor beta Subunit
  • Interleukin-10