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Nat Immunol. 2009 Nov;10(11):1178-84. doi: 10.1038/ni.1791. Epub 2009 Sep 27.

Interleukin 10 acts on regulatory T cells to maintain expression of the transcription factor Foxp3 and suppressive function in mice with colitis.

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  • 1Division of Developmental Immunology, La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, La Jolla, California, USA.


Regulatory T cells (T(reg) cells) that express the transcription factor Foxp3 suppress the activity of other cells. Here we show that interleukin 10 (IL-10) produced by CD11b(+) myeloid cells in recombination-activating gene 1-deficient (Rag1(-/-)) recipient mice was needed to prevent the colitis induced by transferred CD4(+)CD45RB(hi) T cells. In Il10(-/-)Rag1(-/-) mice, T(reg) cells failed to maintain Foxp3 expression and regulatory activity. The loss of Foxp3 expression occurred only in recipients with colitis, which indicates that the requirement for IL-10 is manifested in the presence of inflammation. IL-10 receptor-deficient (Il10rb(-/-)) T(reg) cells also failed to maintain Foxp3 expression, which suggested that host IL-10 acted directly on the T(reg) cells. Our data indicate that IL-10 released from myeloid cells acts in a paracrine manner on T(reg) cells to maintain Foxp3 expression.

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