IL-10 has been shown to inhibit some aspects of macrophage activation, including the in vitro IFN-gamma-mediated intracellular killing of the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. We have previously shown that genetically susceptible mice produced more IL-10 during T. cruzi infection than resistant mice, suggesting an association between IL-10 production and disease susceptibility. In the present study, such an association was documented. IL-10 mRNA was present in the spleens of susceptible C57BL/6 mice, but not in resistant (C57BL/6 x DBA/2) F1 mice, as early as 2 days after infection with T. cruzi. In susceptible mice, IL-10 mRNA was found in enriched populations of splenic T cells and peritoneal macrophages by 4 days after infection. By 14 days after infection, IL-10 mRNA was detected in enriched populations of splenic T cells and peritoneal macrophages, as well as by splenic B cells and macrophages. In SCID mice infected with T. cruzi, IL-10 mRNA was detected in peritoneal cells 2 days after infection. The IL-10 mRNA production was not abolished by treatment with anti-asialo GM-1 Ab before infection, which is consistent with its production by macrophages. Finally, the role of endogenous IL-10 production in the susceptibility to T. cruzi infection was demonstrated by the protection of highly susceptible C57BL/6 mice against acute disease and death from T. cruzi by the administration of neutralizing anti-IL-10 mAb. This study demonstrated an important and perhaps essential role of IL-10 in mediating in vivo susceptibility to T. cruzi infection.

This content is only available via PDF.