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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 15, Issue 8, Pages 557-558
Canadian Gastroenterology Elsewhere

Studies on the Interleukin-10 Gene in Animal Models of Colitis

Hugh J Freeman

Department of Medicine (Gastroenterology), ACU F-137, University of British Columbia Hospital, 2211 Wesbrook Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Copyright © 2001 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Cytokines play a role in the inflammatory process in colitis and may have therapeutic potential. Interleukin-10 (IL-10) has both immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory properties. IL-10-deficient mice develop intestinal inflammation with increased tissue levels of other cytokines, including tumour necrosis factor-alpha. In patients with inflammatory bowel disease, impaired IL-10 production by lamina propria T cells occurs and human recombinant IL-10 improves clinical parameters in inflammatory bowel disease (eg, Crohn's disease). There seem to be conflicting results in differing animal models, and the timing of administration of IL-10 relative to onset of colitis may be critical, possibly due to rapid clearance of IL-10. Interestingly, in IL-10 gene-deficient mice raised in germ-free conditions, the intestinal inflammatory changes normally observed in conventional nongerm-free conditions are not detected, suggesting a role for luminal bacteria in the pathogenesis of the inflammatory process.