Interleukin-10 production by splenic CD4+ cells and cell subsets from young and old mice

Cell Immunol. 1994 Apr 1;154(1):264-72. doi: 10.1006/cimm.1994.1076.


We have examined whether aging is accompanied by changes in the capacity of CD4+ cells to produce IL-10, a potent immunoregulatory cytokine. Splenic CD4+ cells from young-adult and old C57BL/6NNia mice were stimulated in vitro with immobilized anti-CD3 epsilon mAb and were monitored for the release of IL-10 in short-term (3-day) cultures. In both age groups, detectable IL-10 accumulation in culture supernatants was stimulation dependent and reached a maximum level on Day 3. However, the peak IL-10 level in the old group was approximately 10-fold higher than that in the young-adult group. This age-associated difference in IL-10 production was also evident in the analysis of IL-10 mRNA levels in stimulated CD4+ cells. In contrast to these findings, the analysis of S-phase activity in the stimulated cell cultures revealed an age-related decline in this aspect of the cellular response. In studies on CD4+CD44lo and CD4+CD44hi subsets isolated from mice of various ages, we found that measurable IL-10 production segregated entirely with the CD44hi population, regardless of donor age. Taken together, our data suggest that the capacity for IL-10 synthesis by the splenic CD4+ cell pool is increased with age, and that the age-related shift toward a predominance of CD4+CD44hi cells in the peripheral tissues accounts for this quantitative change in IL-10 gene expression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Animals
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / metabolism*
  • Carrier Proteins / analysis
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Hyaluronan Receptors
  • Interleukin-10 / biosynthesis*
  • Interleukin-10 / genetics
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / analysis
  • Receptors, Lymphocyte Homing / analysis
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / metabolism*


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Hyaluronan Receptors
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Receptors, Lymphocyte Homing
  • Interleukin-10