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Pharmacol Rev. 2003 Jun;55(2):241-69.

Interleukin-10 therapy--review of a new approach.

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Head of Corporate Research Business Area Dermatology, Schering AG, D-13342 Berlin, Germany.


Interleukin (IL)-10 is an important immunoregulatory cytokine produced by many cell populations. Its main biological function seems to be the limitation and termination of inflammatory responses and the regulation of differentiation and proliferation of several immune cells such as T cells, B cells, natural killer cells, antigen-presenting cells, mast cells, and granulocytes. However, very recent data suggest IL-10 also mediates immunostimulatory properties that help to eliminate infectious and noninfectious particles with limited inflammation. Numerous investigations, including expression analyses in patients, in vitro and animal experiments suggest a major impact of IL-10 in inflammatory, malignant, and autoimmune diseases. So IL-10 overexpression was found in certain tumors as melanoma and several lymphomas and is considered to promote further tumor development. Systemic IL-10 release is a powerful tool of the central nervous system to prevent hyperinflammatory processes by activation of the neuro-endocrine axis following acute stress reactions. In contrast, a relative IL-10 deficiency has been observed and is regarded to be of pathophysiological relevance in certain inflammatory disorders characterized by a type 1 cytokine pattern such as psoriasis. Recombinant human IL-10 has been produced and is currently being tested in clinical trials. This includes rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis, organ transplantation, and chronic hepatitis C. The results are heterogeneous. They give new insight into the immunobiology of IL-10 and suggest that the IL-10/IL-10 receptor system may become a new therapeutic target.

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