Interaction between interleukin 10 and interleukin 6 in human B-cell differentiation

Immunol Invest. 1998 Jul-Sep;27(4-5):267-80. doi: 10.3109/08820139809070900.


Contrary to their opposing action on human T-lymphocytes and monocytes, both Interleukin (IL-)10 and IL-6 are potent differentiation factors of human B-cells. Both are known to induce immunoglobulin (Ig) production. The precise mechanism of this converging effect of IL-6 and IL-10 remains elusive, however. Here we investigated the role of IL-6 in the IL-10 dependent B-cell differentiation into Ig secreting cells. We found that co-stimulation of SAC-stimulated human peripheral B-lymphocytes with IL-10 and IL-6 exhibited no additive effect on Ig production over stimulation with IL-10 alone, and that IL-6 receptor blockade only mildly inhibited IL-10 induced Ig synthesis. In fact, we could show that stimulation of B-cells with IL-10 somewhat suppressed SAC induced autocrine IL-6 production. Despite this suppression IL-6 levels remained sufficiently high to stimulate its receptor, and IL-6 binding to the B-cell surface was not affected. The failure of IL-6 to exert an additional effect on SAC+IL-10 induced Ig production suggests that IL-10 may recruit components of the IL-6 intracellular pathway for Ig induction. In conclusion we could demonstrate that IL-10 acts on B-cell differentiation independently of autocrine IL-6 and that it had a considerably mild effect on B lymphocytic autocrine IL-6 secretion. This still allows an IL-6 effect in the presence of IL-10 which appears adaptive with a view to the converging effects of these two cytokines on human B lymphocytes. Our study thus adds to the appreciation of the complex cytokine regulation of the immune system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies / immunology
  • B-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Separation
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulins / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-10 / pharmacology
  • Interleukin-10 / physiology*
  • Interleukin-6 / pharmacology
  • Interleukin-6 / physiology*
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Receptors, Interleukin-6 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptors, Interleukin-6 / immunology
  • Receptors, Interleukin-6 / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction


  • Antibodies
  • Immunoglobulins
  • Interleukin-6
  • Receptors, Interleukin-6
  • interleukin-6 receptor alpha
  • Interleukin-10