Interleukin-10 downregulates proliferation and expression of interleukin-2 receptor p55 chain and interferon-gamma, but not interleukin-2 or interleukin-4, by parasite-specific helper T cell clones obtained from cattle chronically infected with Babesia bovis or Fasciola hepatica.
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Human recombinant interleukin-10 (IL-10) was previously shown to inhibit accessory cell (AC)-dependent proliferation of bovine parasite-specific T helper 1 (Th1), Th2, and Th0 cells in an IL-2-reversible manner (Brown, W.C., Woods, V.M., Chitko-McKown, C.G., Hash, S.M., and Rice-Ficht, A.C., 1994. Infect. Immun. 62, 4697-4708). The present study was therefore designed to determine whether the effect of IL-10 on T cell proliferation corresponded with downregulated expression of cytokines, or their receptors, important for T cell growth. The effects of IL-10 on cellular proliferation and expression of IL-2, IL-4, IL-2 receptor (IL-2R; p55), and IFN-gamma by Babesia bovis- or Fasciola hepatica-specific Th cell clones were simultaneously evaluated. As shown previously, IL-10 strongly inhibited proliferation of all types of Th cell clones, although this did not correspond with reduced expression of IL-2 or IL-4 mRNA or their products. In contrast, expression of IL-2R mRNA was consistently reduced in the IL-10-treated clones. These results indicate that IL-10 does not inhibit AC-dependent proliferation of bovine Th cells by downregulating T cell cytokines; rather, IL-10 may act by downregulating IL-2R p55 expression and subsequent signal transduction leading to decreased cellular proliferation. IFN-gamma production was also consistently downregulated in the presence of IL-10.