There is evidence that interleukin -10(IL-10) interferes with the costimulatory properties of antigen-presenting cells and, thereby, inhibits their ability to induce T cell activation. To determine whether this effect might involve modulation of the expression of accessory molecules, we analyzed by flow cytometry the influence of human IL-10 on the basal expression of intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1) as well as on the interferon gamma (IFN-gamma)-induced up-regulation of ICAM-1 and B7 at the surface of human monocytes. IL-10 inhibited both the basal expression and the IFN-gamma-induced ICAM-1 up-regulation. IL-10 also reduced B7 up-regulation on IFN-gamma-stimulated monocytes. The inhibitory effect of IL-10 both on ICAM-1 and B7 expression was shown to be dose dependent. We conclude that the ability of IL-10 to decrease both ICAM-1 and B7 expression on monocytes might contribute to its immunosuppressive properties.