In the three years since its discovery, the pleiotropic cytokine interleukin-10 (IL-10) has been implicated as an important regulator of the functions of lymphoid and myeloid cells. IL-10's ability to block activation of cytokine synthesis and several accessory cell functions of macrophage renders this cytokine a potent suppressor of the effector functions of macrophages, T cells, and NK cells. In addition, IL-10 likely contributes to regulating proliferation and differentiation of B cells, mast cells, and thymocytes. The Epstein-Barr virus genome encodes a homolog of IL-10 (BCFR1, viral IL-10, vIL-10) which shares many of the cellular cytokine's biological activities and may therefore play a role in the host-virus interaction. This article reviews current studies of IL-10's biological activities and discusses its possible roles in regulation of immune responses.