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Clinical and Developmental Immunology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 560817, 13 pages
Research Article

New Insights into the Immunological Changes in IL-10-Deficient Mice during the Course of Spontaneous Inflammation in the Gut Mucosa

1Departamento de Bioquímica e Imunologia, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Avenida Antônio Carlos 6627, 31270-901 Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil
2Departamento de Ciência de Alimentos, Faculdade de Farmácia, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil
3Departamento de Morfologia, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil
4Gastrointestinal Research Group, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, University of Calgary, 2500 University Dr. NW T2N 4N1, Calgary, AB, Canada

Received 16 May 2011; Accepted 15 October 2011

Academic Editor: Noriko Tsuji

Copyright © 2012 Ana Cristina Gomes-Santos et al. 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.


IL-10 is a regulatory cytokine that plays a major role in the homeostasis of the gut and this is illustrated by the fact that IL-10−/− mice develop spontaneous colitis. In this study, IL-10−/− mice were analyzed for immunological changes during colitis development. We found a reduced frequency of regulatory T cells and higher frequency of activated T cells in the colon that precedes the macroscopic signs of the disease. Production of IL-17 and IFN-γ was higher in the colon. Colitis progression culminates with the reduction of regulatory T cells in the intestine. Frequency of B1 cells and the secretory IgA production were both elevated. Despite these alterations, 16-week-old IL-10−/− mice could be rendered tolerant by a continuous feeding protocol. Our study provides detailed analysis of changes that precede colitis and it also suggests that oral tolerance could be used to design novel alternative therapies for the disease.