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Trends Microbiol. 2001 Feb;9(2):86-92.

Hijacking and exploitation of IL-10 by intracellular pathogens.

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Dept of Immunology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


Macrophages play a central role in infections, as a target for pathogens and in activation of the immune system. Interleukin-10 (IL-10), a cytokine produced by macrophages, is a potent immunosuppressive factor. Some intracellular pathogens specifically target macrophages for infection and use IL-10 to dampen the host immune response and stall their elimination from the host. Certain viruses induce production of cellular IL-10 by macrophages, whereas other viruses encode their own viral IL-10 homologs. Additionally, specific bacteria, including several Mycobacteria spp. and Listeria monocytogenes, can survive and replicate in macrophages while inducing cellular IL-10, highlighting a potential role for IL-10 of macrophage origin in the immunosuppressive etiology of these pathogens. Thus, the exploitation of IL-10 appears to be a common mechanism of immunosuppression by a diverse group of intracellular pathogens that can infect macrophages.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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