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J Immunol. 1998 Oct 1;161(7):3299-306.

IL-10 is critical in the regulation of autoimmune encephalomyelitis as demonstrated by studies of IL-10- and IL-4-deficient and transgenic mice.

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  • 1Center for Neurologic Diseases, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) and other organ-specific autoimmune diseases are induced by autoantigen-specific Th1 cells. In contrast, transfer of autoantigen-reactive Th2 cells that produce IL-4 and IL-10 can prevent and/or reverse EAE. The relative roles of these two Th2 cytokines in the regulation of EAE has not been evaluated. Utilizing IL-4 and IL-10 knockout mice deficient for these cytokines and IL-10 and IL-4 transgenic mice overexpressing these cytokines, we demonstrate that IL-10-deficient mice (IL-10(-/-)) are more susceptible and develop a more severe EAE when compared with IL-4-deficient mice (IL-4(-/-)) or wild-type mice. T cells from IL-10(-/-) mice exhibit a stronger Ag-specific proliferation, produce more proinflammatory cytokines (IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha) when stimulated with an encephalitogenic peptide, and induce very severe EAE upon transfer into wild-type mice. In contrast, while IL-4 transgenic mice develop similar disease compared with their nontransgenic littermates, mice transgenic for IL-10 are completely resistant to the development of EAE. Taken together, our data suggest that IL-10 plays a more critical role in the regulation of EAE by regulating autopathogenic Th1 responses.

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