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Interleukin 10 (IL-10)

Can be measured in:

Interleukin 10 (IL-10) is also known as cytokine synthesis inhibitory factor. IL-10 has potent anti-inflammatory properties and plays a central role in limiting host immune response to pathogens, thereby preventing damage to the host and maintaining normal tissue homeostasis. Dysregulation of IL-10 is associated with enhanced immunopathology in response to infection as well as increased risk for development of many autoimmune diseases. IL-10 also influences the nervous system and may modulate depressive and anxious behavior. This analyte is eligible for multiplexing.


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Name: Interleukin 10 (IL-10)
Category: Health & Inflammation
Type of test: Blood + Saliva 

IL-10, also known as cytokine synthesis inhibitory factor, is an anti-inflammatory cytokine that is important for the regulation of inflammation. Produced primarily at sites of infection to counteract inflammatory activity and limit cytokine production, insufficient IL-10 signaling has been linked to several pathologies, including autoimmune disorders and cancer. IL-10 functions primarily by modulating the activity of macrophages, specifically by reducing the production of TNF, IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, and IL-12, as well as reducing antigen presentation by minimizing MHC-II expression. IL-10 has also been shown to play a significant role in the maintenance of intestinal mucosal homeostasis, an element of the immune system that is often overlooked when considering cytokine activity. In terms of synthesis and release pathways, it is not unlike other interleukins such as IL-6 in that golgi associated vesicles/tubules are regulated after movement to recycling endosomes by VAMP3 and Rab11. This allows for tight regulation of when IL-10 is released. There is some evidence that has shown IL-10 to be released directly from the golgi using vesicles labeled with ApoE. 

As a biomarker and within a clinical context, IL-10 levels have been used as an indicator for numerous health parameters across different areas of research. Within the context of Alzheimer’s disease, for example, gene polymorphisms leading to low IL-10 levels have been considered as a potential risk factor. Additionally, in patients with Crohn’s disease, administering IL-10 has been shown to successfully alleviate gastrointestinal symptoms. 

Interestingly, there is also evidence that psychological stress induces expression of IL-10 through adrenergic receptor signaling, which has led some to believe that IL-10 could play a role in stress related immunosuppression. While additional research is needed, chronic dysregulation of IL-10 levels within the context of chronic stress may have a lasting impact on immune function. IL-10 can be measured in both saliva and serum / plasma, but the extent to which levels in these sample types correlate is variable.

Connor, T. J., Brewer, C., Kelly, J. P., & Harkin, A. (2005). Acute stress suppresses pro-inflammatory cytokines TNF-α and IL-1β independent of a catecholamine-driven increase in IL-10 production. Journal of neuroimmunology159, 119-128. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15652410/

Iyer, S.S., & Cheng, G. (2012). Role of interleukin 10 transcriptional regulation in inflammation and autoimmune disease. Critical Reviews in Immunology, 32, 23-63. doi:10.1615/critrevimmunol.v32.i1.30 (link)

Tilg, H., Van Montfrans, C., Van den Ende, A., Kaser, A., Van Deventer, S. J. H., Schreiber, S., ... & Koningsberger, J. C. (2002). Treatment of Crohn's disease with recombinant human interleukin 10 induces the proinflammatory cytokine interferon γ. Gut50, 191-195. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11788558/

Xiang, L., Del Ben, K. S., Rehm, K. E., & Marshall Jr, G. D. (2012). Effects of acute stress-induced immunomodulation on TH1/TH2 cytokine and catecholamine receptor expression in human peripheral blood cells. Neuropsychobiology65, 12-19. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22094268/

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