Intravenous immunoglobulin skews macrophages to an anti-inflammatory, IL-10-producing activation state

J Leukoc Biol. 2015 Dec;98(6):983-94. doi: 10.1189/jlb.3VMA0315-078R. Epub 2015 Jul 27.


Intravenous Ig is used to treat autoimmune or autoinflammatory disorders, but the mechanism by which it exerts its immunosuppressive activity is not understood completely. To examine the impact of intravenous Ig on macrophages, we compared cytokine production by LPS-activated macrophages in the presence and absence of intravenous Ig. Intravenous Ig treatment induced robust production of IL-10 in response to LPS, relative to LPS stimulation alone, and reduced production of proinflammatory cytokines. This anti-inflammatory, intravenous Ig-induced activation was sustained for 24 h but could only be induced if intravenous Ig were provided within 1 h of LPS stimulation. Intravenous Ig activation led to enhanced and prolonged activation of MAPKs, Erk1/2, p38, and Erk5, and inhibition of each reduced intravenous Ig-induced IL-10 production and suppression of IL-12/23p40. IL-10 production occurred rapidly in response to intravenous Ig + LPS and was sufficient to reduce proinflammatory IL-12/23p40 production in response to LPS. IL-10 induction and reduced IL-12/23p40 production were transcriptionally regulated. IL-10 played a direct role in reducing proinflammatory cytokine production by macrophages treated with intravenous Ig + LPS, as macrophages from mice deficient in the IL-10R β chain or in IL-10 were compromised in their ability to reduce proinflammatory cytokine production. Finally, intraperitoneal injection of intravenous Ig or intravenous Ig + LPS into mice activated macrophages to produce high levels of IL-10 during subsequent or concurrent LPS challenge, respectively. These findings identify IL-10 as a key anti-inflammatory mediator produced by intravenous Ig-treated macrophages and provide insight into a novel mechanism by which intravenous Ig may dampen down inflammatory responses in patients with autoimmune or autoinflammatory diseases.

Keywords: Fc receptors; macrophage activation; map kinases; regulatory macrophages; sepsis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous / pharmacology*
  • Interleukin-10 / immunology*
  • Interleukin-12 Subunit p40 / immunology
  • Lipopolysaccharides / toxicity
  • Macrophage Activation / drug effects*
  • Macrophages, Peritoneal / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Receptors, Interleukin-10 / immunology


  • IL10 protein, mouse
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous
  • Interleukin-12 Subunit p40
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Receptors, Interleukin-10
  • Interleukin-10
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases