IL-10-deficient B10.Q mice develop more severe collagen-induced arthritis, but are protected from arthritis induced with anti-type II collagen antibodies

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IL-10 is a pleiotropic cytokine with stimulatory and inhibitory properties, and is thought to have a protective role in rheumatoid arthritis and collagen-induced arthritis (CIA). In this study, we investigated how IL-10 deficiency affects CIA and anti-collagen type II (CII) Ab-transferred arthritis in C57BL/10.Q (B10.Q) mice. The B10.Q.IL-10(-/-) mice had an 8-cM 129/Ola fragment around the IL-10 gene. The mice were treated with antibiotics, appeared healthy, and had no colitis. T cells from IL-10(-/-) mice expressed similar levels of IFN-gamma, IL-2, and IL-4 after mitogen stimulation; however, macrophages showed a reduced TNF-alpha production compared with IL-10(+/-) littermates. IL-10(-/-) mice had an increased incidence, and a more severe CIA disease than the IL-10+/- littermates. To study the role of IL-10 in T cell tolerance, IL-10(-/-) were crossed into mice carrying the immunodominant epitope, CII(256-270), in cartilage (MMC) or in skin (TSC). Both IL-10(-/-) and IL-10(+/-) MMC and TSC mice were completely tolerized against CIA, indicating that lack of IL-10 in this context did not break tolerance. To investigate whether IL-10 was important in the effector phase of CIA, arthritis was induced with anti-CII Abs. Surprisingly, IL-10(-/-) were less susceptible to Ab-transferred arthritis, as only 30% showed signs of disease compared with 90% of the littermates. Therefore, IL-10 seemed to have a protective role in CIA, but seemed to exacerbate the arthritogenicity of anti-CII Abs. These data emphasize the importance of studying IL-10 in a defined genetic context in vivo, to understand its role in a complex disease like arthritis.


  • Åsa Johansson
  • Ann-Sofie Liedberg
  • Nandakumar Kutty Selva
  • Johan Bäcklund
  • Rikard Holmdahl
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Immunology in the medical area
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3505-3512
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Medical Inflammation Research (013212019), Division of Microbiology, Immunology and Glycobiology - MIG (013025200)