Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection is the leading viral cause of severe lower respiratory tract illness in young infants. Clinical studies have documented that certain polymorphisms in the gene encoding the regulatory cytokine IL-10 are associated with the development of severe bronchiolitis in RSV infected infants. Here, we examined the role of IL-10 in a murine model of primary RSV infection and found that high levels of IL-10 are produced in the respiratory tract by anti-viral effector T cells at the onset of the adaptive immune response. We demonstrated that the function of the effector T cell -derived IL-10 in vivo is to limit the excess pulmonary inflammation and thereby to maintain critical lung function. We further identify a novel mechanism by which effector T cell-derived IL-10 controls excess inflammation by feedback inhibition through engagement of the IL-10 receptor on the antiviral effector T cells. Our findings suggest a potentially critical role of effector T cell-derived IL-10 in controlling disease severity in clinical RSV infection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology