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Infect Immun. 2012 Nov;80(11):4046-54. doi: 10.1128/IAI.00386-12. Epub 2012 Sep 10.

Global effect of interleukin-10 on the transcriptional profile induced by Neisseria meningitidis in human monocytes.

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Blood Cell Research Unit, Section for Research, Department of Medical Biochemistry, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway.


In meningococcal septic shock, the dominant inducer of inflammation is lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in the outer membrane of Neisseria meningitidis, while interleukin-10 (IL-10) is the principal anti-inflammatory cytokine. We have used microarrays and Ingenuity Pathway Analysis to study the global effects of IL-10 on gene expression induced by N. meningitidis, after exposure of human monocytes (n = 5) for 3 h to N. meningitidis (10(6) cells/ml), recombinant human IL-10 (rhIL-10) (25 ng/ml), and N. meningitidis combined with rhIL-10. N. meningitidis and IL-10 differentially expressed 3,579 and 648 genes, respectively. IL-10 downregulated 125 genes which were upregulated by N. meningitidis, including NLRP3, the key molecule of the NLRP3 inflammasome. IL-10 also upregulated 270 genes which were downregulated by N. meningitidis, including members of the leukocyte immunuglobulin-like receptor (LIR) family. Fifty-three genes revealed a synergistically increased expression when N. meningitidis and IL-10 were combined. AIM2 (the principal molecule of the AIM2 inflammasome) was among these genes (fold change [FC], 18.3 versus 7.4 and 9.4 after stimulation by N. meningitidis and IL-10, respectively). We detected reduced concentrations (92% to 40%) of six cytokines (IL-1b, IL-6, IL-8, tumor necrosis factor alpha [TNF-α], macrophage inflammatory protein alpha [MIP-α], MIP-β) in the presence of IL-10, compared with concentrations with stimulation by N. meningitidis alone. Our data analysis of the effects of IL-10 on gene expression induced by N. meningitidis suggests that high plasma levels of IL-10 in meningococcal septic shock plasma may have a profound effect on a variety of functions and cellular processes in human monocytes, including cell-to-cell signaling, cellular movement, cellular development, antigen presentation, and cell death.

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