T helper 17 (Th17) cells are important for host defense against extracellular microorganisms. However, they are also implicated in autoimmune and chronic inflammatory diseases, and as such need to be tightly regulated. The mechanisms that directly control committed pathogenic Th17 cells in vivo remain unclear. We showed here that IL-17A-producing CD4+ T cells expressed interleukin-10 receptor α (IL-10Rα) in vivo. Importantly, T cell-specific blockade of IL-10 signaling led to a selective increase of IL-17A+IFN-γ⁻ (Th17) and IL-17A+IFN-γ+ (Th17+Th1) CD4+ T cells during intestinal inflammation in the small intestine. CD4+Foxp3⁻ IL-10-producing (Tr1) cells and CD4+Foxp3+ regulatory (Treg) cells were able to control Th17 and Th17+Th1 cells in an IL-10-dependent manner in vivo. Lastly, IL-10 treatment of mice with established colitis decreased Th17 and Th17+Th1 cell frequencies via direct signaling in T cells. Thus, IL-10 signaling directly suppresses Th17 and Th17+Th1 cells.
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