Lentivirus delivery of IL-10 to promote and sustain macrophage polarization towards an anti-inflammatory phenotype

R. M. Boehler, R. Kuo, S. Shin, A. G. Goodman, M. A. Pilecki, J. N. Leonard, L. D. Shea*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Gene delivery from biomaterials can create an environment that promotes and guides tissue formation. However, the immune response induced upon biomaterial implantation can be detrimental to tissue regeneration. Macrophages play a central role in mediating early phases of this response, and functional "polarization" of macrophages towards M1 (inflammatory) or M2 (anti-inflammatory) phenotypes may bias the local immune state at the implant site. Since gene delivery from biomaterial scaffolds can confer transgene expression in macrophages in vivo, we investigated whether transduction of macrophages with an IL-10 encoding lentivirus can (1) induce macrophage polarization toward an M2 phenotype even in an pro-inflammatory environment, and (2) prevent a shift in polarization from M2 to M1 following exposure to pro-inflammatory stimuli. IL-10 lentivirus delivery to pre-polarized M1 macrophages reduced TNF-α production 1.5-fold when compared to cells treated with either a control virus or a bolus delivery of recombinant IL-10 protein. IL-10 lentivirus delivery to naïve macrophages reduced the amount of TNF-α produced following an inflammatory challenge by 2.5-fold compared to cells treated with both the control virus and recombinant IL-10. At a mechanistic level, IL-10 lentivirus delivery mediated sustained reduction in NF-κB activation and, accordingly, reduced transcription of TNF-α. In sum, lentiviral delivery of IL-10 to macrophages represents a promising strategy for directing and sustaining macrophage polarization towards an M2 phenotype in order to promote local immune responses that facilitate tissue engineering. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2014;111: 1210-1221. Lentiviral based anti-inflammatory gene delivery is employed to modulate macrophage phenotype in vitro. Boehler and coworkers applied traditional cytokine detection methods to demonstrate the ability to induce and retain an anti-inflammatory phenotype even in a pro-inflammatory environment, and applied an emerging method to characterize the dynamic transcription factor activity that accompanies this phenotype transition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1210-1221
Number of pages12
JournalBiotechnology and Bioengineering
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2014


  • Gene delivery
  • IL-10
  • Lentivirus
  • Macrophage
  • Macrophage phenotype
  • Transduction efficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

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