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Infect Immun. 2002 Aug;70(8):4441-6.

Interleukin-10 controls the onset of irreversible septic shock.

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Division of Pediatric Pharmacology and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio 44106-4952, USA.


Lethality from sepsis is believed to be mediated by a proinflammatory cytokine cascade, yet blocking the proinflammatory cytokines tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) and interleukin-1 (IL-1) fails to prevent mortality in human disease and a mouse model of sepsis induced by cecal ligation and puncture (CLP). The role of the antiinflammatory cytokine IL-10 in the CLP model of sepsis is unclear, with either protective or harmful effects demonstrated, depending upon the time of intervention. We therefore hypothesize that IL-10 functions as a temporal regulator of the transition from early reversible sepsis to the late phase of irreversible shock. Transition from reversible sepsis to irreversible shock in the CLP model was defined as the time when removal of the necrotic cecum by rescue surgery is no longer effective. We subjected IL-10-deficient (IL-10(-/-)) and wild-type (IL-10(+/+)) mice to CLP and monitored the progression of sepsis, the onset of irreversible shock, and mortality. Onset of lethality in IL-10(-/-) mice occurred significantly earlier than in IL-10(+/+) mice and was associated with 15-fold-higher serum levels of TNF-alpha and IL-6. Consistent with these findings, the efficacy of rescue surgery after lethal CLP is lost 10 h earlier in IL-10(-/-) mice than in IL-10(+/+) mice. Treatment with recombinant human IL-10 5 h after CLP significantly improved survival and lengthened the therapeutic window for rescue surgery in both strains of mice. These results demonstrate that IL-10 controls the onset of irreversible septic shock after CLP.

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