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J Neurochem. 2000 Aug;75(2):576-82.

Interleukin-10 and interleukin-13 inhibit proinflammatory cytokine-induced ceramide production through the activation of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase.

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Department of Oral Biology, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA.


Ceramide produced by hydrolysis of plasma membrane sphingomyelin (SM) in different cells including brain cells in response to proinflammatory cytokines [tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta)] plays an important role in coordinating cellular responses to stress, growth suppression, and apoptosis. The present study underlines the importance of IL-10 and IL-13, cytokines with potent antiinflammatory properties, in inhibiting the proinflammatory cytokine (TNF-alpha and IL-1beta)-mediated degradation of SM to ceramide in rat primary astrocytes. Treatment of rat primary astrocytes with TNF-alpha or IL-1beta led to rapid degradation of SM to ceramide, whereas IL-10 and IL-13 by themselves were unable to induce the degradation of SM to ceramide. Interestingly, both IL-10 and IL-13 prevented proinflammatory cytokine-induced degradation of SM to ceramide. Both IL-10 and IL-13 caused rapid activation of phosphatidylinositol (PI) 3-kinase, and inhibition of that kinase activity by wortmannin and LY294002 potently blocked the inhibitory effect of IL-10 and IL-13 on proinflammatory cytokine-mediated induction of ceramide production. This study suggests that the inhibition of proinflammatory cytokine-mediated degradation of SM to ceramide by IL-10 and IL-13 is mediated through the activation of PI 3-kinase. As ceramide induces apoptosis and IL-10 and IL-13 inhibit the induction of ceramide production, we examined the effect of IL-10 and IL-13 on proinflammatory cytokine-mediated apoptosis. Inhibition of TNF-alpha-induced apoptosis by IL-10 and IL-13 suggests that the antiapoptotic nature of IL-10 and IL-13 is probably due to the inhibition of ceramide production.

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