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Eur J Immunol. 2000 Jun;30(6):1769-77.

IL-10 induces apoptosis in human monocytes involving the CD95 receptor/ligand pathway.

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Department of Medicine, University of Münster, Germany.


The cytokine IL-10 exerts potent immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory effects, although the mechanisms of this action remain largely unknown. In the present study, we investigated the effects of IL-10 in human peripheral blood monocytes. We were able to demonstrate that IL-10 dose- and time-dependently triggers apoptosis in these cells as detected by annexin-V staining, the nick end labeling (TUNEL) procedure, electron microscopy and analysis of DNA laddering. IL-10-induced apoptosis required the activation of proteases of the caspase family, since a peptide caspase inhibitor attenuated cell death and, in addition, the proteolytic activation of caspase-8 was observed. Since caspase-8 has been implicated as a regulator of apoptosis mediated by death receptors, we investigated a potential involvement of the CD95 receptor/ligand system. Indeed, treatment of monocytes with IL-10 induced a dose-dependent up-regulation of CD95 receptor and ligand expression on the monocyte surface. Furthermore, a CD95 ligand-neutralizing antibody significantly inhibited IL-10-induced apoptosis. In summary, our data show that IL-10 triggers monocyte apoptosis involving the CD95 system via an autocrine or paracrine process. Therefore, at least part of the anti-inflammatory properties of IL-10 may involve induction of apoptosis in monocytes.

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