BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Interleukin 10 (IL10) inhibits monocyte/macrophage and T lymphocyte effector functions. This study examined the effect of systemically administered IL10 on acute and chronic granulomatous enterocolitis, hepatitis, and arthritis in a rat model. METHODS: Lewis rats were injected intramurally with streptococcal peptidoglycan-polysaccharide (PG-APS) polymers. Beginning 12 hours before PG-APS injection, rats were treated daily with subcutaneous murine recombinant IL10 or vehicle for three or 17 days. RESULTS: IL10 attenuated acute enterocolitis in a dose dependent fashion (p < 0.01). Protective effects were more profound in the chronic granulomatous phase with decreased enterocolitis and markedly inhibited leucocytosis, hepatic granulomas, and chronic erosive arthritis (p < 0.001). IL10 downregulated tissue IL1, IL6, tumour necrosis factor alpha, and interferon gamma gene expression, consistent with the in vitro effects of IL10 on PG-APS-stimulated splenocytes. Caecal IL1 protein concentrations and IL2 and interferon gamma secretion by in vitro stimulated mesenteric lymph nodes were downregulated in IL10 treated animals. CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate that exogenous IL10 can inhibit experimental granulomatous inflammatory responses and suggest that IL10 treatment could be an effective new therapeutic approach in human disorders such as Crohn's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and sarcoidosis.
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