Dual role of interleukin-10 in the regulation of respiratory syncitial virus (RSV)-induced lung inflammation

L. Sun, T. T. Cornell, A. Levine, A. A. Berlin, V. Hinkovska-Galcheva, A. J. Fleszar, N. W. Lukacs, T. P. Shanley*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


RSV lower respiratory tract infections (LRTI) are among the most common diseases necessitating hospital admission in children. In addition to causing acute respiratory failure, RSV infections are associated with sequelae such as secondary bacterial infections and reactive airway disease. One characteristic host response observed in severe RSV-induced LRTI and/or subsequent development of asthma is increased expression of interleukin (IL)-10. However, contradictory results have been reported regarding whether IL-10 inhibits asthmatic responses or intensifies the disease. We aimed to reconcile these discordant observations by elucidating the role of IL-10 in regulating the host response to RSV LRTI. In this study, we used a lung-specific, inducible IL-10 over-expression (OE) transgenic mouse model to address this question. Our results showed that the presence of IL-10 at the time of RSV infection not only attenuated acute inflammatory process (i.e. 24h post-infection), but also late inflammatory changes [characterized by T helper type 2 (Th2) cytokine and chemokine expression]. While this result appears contradictory to some clinical observations where elevated IL-10 levels are observed in asthmatic patients, we also found that delaying IL-10 OE until the late immune response to RSV infection, additive effects rather than inhibitory effects were observed. Importantly, in non-infected, IL-10 OE mice, IL-10 OE alone induced up-regulation of Th2 cytokine (IL-13 and IL-5) and Th2-related chemokine [monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP-1), chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 3 (CCL3) and regulated upon activation normal T cell expressed and secreted (RANTES)] expression. We identified a subset of CD11b+CD11c+CD49b+F4/80-Gr-1- myeloid cells as a prinicipal source of IL-10-induced IL-13 production. Therefore, the augmented pathological responses observed in our 'delayed' IL-10 over-expression model could be attributed to IL-10 OE alone. Taken together, our study indicated dual roles of IL-10 on RSV-induced lung inflammation which appear to depend upon the timing of when elevated IL-10 is expressed in the lung.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)263-279
Number of pages17
JournalClinical and Experimental Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2013


  • Chemokines
  • Pulmonary inflammation
  • RSV
  • Th1
  • Th2 cytokines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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