Interleukin-10 alters effector functions of multiple genes induced by Borrelia burgdorferi in macrophages to regulate Lyme disease inflammation

Infect Immun. 2011 Dec;79(12):4876-92. doi: 10.1128/IAI.05451-11. Epub 2011 Sep 26.


Interleukin-10 (IL-10) modulates inflammatory responses elicited in vitro and in vivo by Borrelia burgdorferi, the Lyme disease spirochete. How IL-10 modulates these inflammatory responses still remains elusive. We hypothesize that IL-10 inhibits effector functions of multiple genes induced by B. burgdorferi in macrophages to control concomitantly elicited inflammation. Because macrophages are essential in the initiation of inflammation, we used mouse J774 macrophages and live B. burgdorferi spirochetes as the model target cell and stimulant, respectively. First, we employed transcriptome profiling to identify genes that were induced by stimulation of cells with live spirochetes and that were perturbed by addition of IL-10 to spirochete cultures. Spirochetes significantly induced upregulation of 347 genes at both the 4-h and 24-h time points. IL-10 inhibited the expression levels, respectively, of 53 and 65 of the 4-h and 24-h genes, and potentiated, respectively, at 4 h and 24 h, 65 and 50 genes. Prominent among the novel identified IL-10-inhibited genes also validated by quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) were Toll-like receptor 1 (TLR1), TLR2, IRAK3, TRAF1, IRG1, PTGS2, MMP9, IFI44, IFIT1, and CD40. Proteome analysis using a multiplex enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) revealed the IL-10 modulation/and or potentiation of RANTES/CCL5, macrophage inflammatory protein 2 (MIP-2)/CXCL2, IP-10/CXCL10, MIP-1α/CCL3, granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF)/CSF3, CXCL1, CXCL5, CCL2, CCL4, IL-6, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), IL-1α, IL-1β, gamma interferon (IFN-γ), and IL-9. Similar results were obtained using sonicated spirochetes or lipoprotein as stimulants. Our data show that IL-10 alters effectors induced by B. burgdorferi in macrophages to control concomitantly elicited inflammatory responses. Moreover, for the first time, this study provides global insight into potential mechanisms used by IL-10 to control Lyme disease inflammation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Borrelia burgdorferi / drug effects
  • Borrelia burgdorferi / physiology*
  • Cell Line
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Inflammation / prevention & control
  • Interleukin-10 / pharmacology*
  • Lyme Disease / metabolism*
  • Lyme Disease / pathology
  • Macrophages / drug effects
  • Macrophages / metabolism*
  • Macrophages / microbiology
  • Mice
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Interleukin-10