IL-10 regulates memory T cell development and the balance between Th1 and follicular Th cell responses during an acute viral infection


Yuan Tian, Sarah B Mollo, Laurie E Harrington, Allan J Zajac


The Journal of Immunology 197 (4), 1308-1321


T cells provide protective immunity against infections by differentiating into effector cells that contribute to rapid pathogen control and by forming memory populations that survive over time and confer long-term protection. Thus, understanding the factors that regulate the development of effective T cell responses is beneficial for the design of vaccines and immune-based therapies against infectious diseases. Cytokines play important roles in shaping T cell responses, and IL-10 has been shown to modulate the differentiation of CD4 and CD8 T cells. In this study, we report that IL-10 functions in a cell-extrinsic manner early following acute lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus infection to suppress the magnitude of effector Th1 responses as well as the generation of memory CD4 and CD8 T cells. We further demonstrate that the blockade of IL-10 signaling during the priming phase refines the functional quality of memory CD4 and CD8 T cells. This inhibition strategy resulted in a lower frequency of virus-specific follicular Th (Tfh) cells and increased the Th1 to Tfh ratio. Nevertheless, neither germinal center B cells nor lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus–specific Ab levels were influenced by the blockade. Thus, our studies show that IL-10 influences the balance between Th1 and Tfh cell differentiation and negatively regulates the development of functionally mature memory T cells.

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