Pathogen-specific CD8 T cell responses are directly inhibited by IL-10

Partha Sarathi Biswas, Virginia Pedicord, Alexander Ploss, Ewa Menet, Ingrid Leiner, Eric G. Pamer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Regulation of CD8 T cell expansion and contraction is essential for successful immune defense against intracellular pathogens. IL-10 is a regulatory cytokine that can restrict T cell responses by inhibiting APC functions. IL-10, however, can also have direct effects on T cells. Although blockade or genetic deletion of IL-10 enhances T cell-mediated resistance to infections, the extent to which IL-10 limits in vivo APC function or T cell activation/proliferation remains unknown. Herein, we demonstrate that primary and memory CD8 T cell responses following Listeria monocytogenes infection are enhanced by the absence of IL-10. Surface expression of the IL-10R is transiently up-regulated on CD8 T cells following activation, suggesting that activated T cells can respond to IL-10 directly. Consistent with this notion, CD8 T cells lacking IL-10R2 underwent greater expansion than wild-type T cells upon L. monocytogenes infection. The absence of IL-10R2 on APCs, in contrast, did not enhance T cell responses following infection. Our studies demonstrate that IL-10 produced during bacterial infection directly limits expansion of pathogen-specific CD8 T cells and reveal an extrinsic regulatory mechanism that modulates the magnitude of memory T cell responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4520-4528
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1 2007
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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