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J Immunol. 2002 Aug 15;169(4):2148-55.

IL-10 regulates murine lupus.

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  • 1Section of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


MRL/MpJ-Tnfrsf6(lpr) (MRL/MpJ-Fas(lpr); MRL-Fas(lpr)) mice develop a spontaneous lupus syndrome closely resembling human systemic lupus erythematosus. To define the role of IL-10 in the regulation of murine lupus, IL-10 gene-deficient (IL-10(-/-)) MRL-Fas(lpr) (MRL-Fas(lpr) IL-10(-/-)) mice were generated and their disease phenotype was compared with littermates with one or two copies of an intact IL-10 locus (MRL-Fas(lpr) IL-10(+/-) and MRL-Fas(lpr) IL-10(+/+) mice, respectively). MRL-Fas(lpr) IL-10(-/-) mice developed severe lupus, with earlier appearance of skin lesions, increased lymphadenopathy, more severe glomerulonephritis, and higher mortality than their IL-10-intact littermate controls. The increased severity of lupus in MRL-Fas(lpr) IL-10(-/-) mice was closely associated with enhanced IFN-gamma production by both CD4(+) and CD8(+) cells and increased serum concentration of IgG2a anti-dsDNA autoantibodies. The protective effect of IL-10 in this lupus model was further supported by the observation that administration of rIL-10 reduced IgG2a anti-dsDNA autoantibody production in wild-type MRL-Fas(lpr) animals. In summary, our results provide evidence that IL-10 can down-modulate murine lupus through inhibition of pathogenic Th1 cytokine responses. Modulation of the level of IL-10 may be of potential therapeutic benefit for human lupus.

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