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Mucosal Immunol. 2010 May;3(3):239-46. doi: 10.1038/mi.2010.8. Epub 2010 Mar 3.

IL-10 production by CD4+ effector T cells: a mechanism for self-regulation.

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Immunobiology Section, Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.


The development of Th1 lymphocytes is essential for cell-mediated immunity and resistance against intracellular pathogens. However, if left unregulated, the same response can cause serious damage to host tissues and lead to mortality. A number of different paracrine regulatory mechanisms involving distinct myeloid and lymphoid subpopulations have been implicated in controlling excessive secretion of inflammatory cytokines by Th1 cells. Much of this work has focused on interleukin (IL)-10, a cytokine with broad anti-inflammatory properties, one of which is to counteract the function of Th1 lymphocytes. While studying the role of IL-10 in regulating immunopathology during infection with the intracellular parasite Toxoplasma gondii, we discovered that the host-protective IL-10 derives in an autocrine manner from conventional interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma)-producing T-bet(+) Foxp3(neg) Th1 cells. In the following review, we will discuss these findings that support the general concept that production of IL-10 is an important self-regulatory function of CD4(+) T lymphocytes.

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