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Front Immunol. 2013 May 31;4:129. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2013.00129. eCollection 2013.

Regulation of adaptive immunity; the role of interleukin-10.

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School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Bristol , Bristol , UK.


Since the discovery of interleukin-10 (IL-10) in the 1980s, a large body of work has led to its recognition as a pleiotropic immunomodulatory cytokine that affects both the innate and adaptive immune systems. IL-10 is produced by a wide range of cell types, but for the purposes of this review we shall focus on IL-10 secreted by CD4(+) T cells. Here we describe the importance of IL-10 as a mediator of suppression used by both FoxP3(+) and FoxP3(-) T regulatory cells. Moreover, we discuss the molecular events leading to the induction of IL-10 secretion in T helper cell subsets, where it acts as a pivotal negative feedback mechanism. Finally we discuss how a greater understanding of this principle has allowed for the design of more efficient, antigen-specific immunotherapy strategies to exploit this natural phenomenon clinically.


T helper cells; allergy; autoimmunity; cytokines; immune regulation; immunotherapy; interleukin-10; regulatory T cells

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