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Scand J Immunol. 2012 Jun;75(6):553-67. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3083.2012.02695.x.

Cytokine reporter mice: the special case of IL-10.

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Department of Bacteriology, Max von Pettenkofer Institute, Munich, Germany.


IL-10 is one of the key cytokines preventing inflammation-mediated tissue damage. In an attempt to identify IL-10-producing cells in vivo, several groups have recently developed IL-10 reporter mouse strains. Up until now, in total, eight IL-10 reporter strains have been published. This incomparable interest in IL-10 reporter mice emphasizes the importance and difficulties in tracking and subsequently investigating the role of IL-10-producing cells in infectious, inflammatory, autoimmune and cancer diseases. In this review, I summarize and compare the properties of those published IL-10 reporter mouse models. I also discuss the necessity to develop new strategies to generate 'multi-cytokine' reporter mouse models enabling highly sensitive in/ex vivo detection of many cytokines in the same single cell. Such 'multi-cytokine' reporter mice will enable to reconsider the dichotomy 'T-effector versus T-regulatory' paradigm and to provide an accurate revised model for cellular sources of cytokines. Finally, I propose to launch cooperative, international initiatives to promote and coordinate the generation of accurate, combinatorial, reporter mice for every individual murine cytokine.

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