Interleukin (IL)-10 and transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 are suppressor cytokines that frequently occur together during a regulatory T cell response. Here we used a one gene doxycycline (Dox)-inducible plasmid encoding TGF-β1 to analyze this association and test its utility. In initial studies, we showed that intranasal administration of this plasmid (along with Dox) led to the appearance of TGF-β1-producing cells (in spleen and lamina propria) and the almost concomitant appearance of IL-10-producing cells. Moreover, we showed that these cells exert Dox-regulated suppression of the T helper cell (Th)1-mediated inflammation in trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid colitis. In subsequent in vitro studies using retroviral TGF-β1 expression, we established that IL-10 production by Th1 cells occurs after exposure to TGF-β1 from either an endogenous or exogenous source. In addition, using a self-inactivating retrovirus luciferase reporter construct we showed that TGF-β1 induces Smad4, which then binds to and activates the IL-10 promoter. Furthermore, intranasal TGF-β1 plasmid administration ameliorates bleomycin-induced fibrosis in wild-type but not IL-10-deficient mice, strongly suggesting that the amelioration is IL-10 dependent and that IL-10 protects mice from TGF-β1-mediated fibrosis. Taken together, these findings suggest that the induction of IL-10 by TGF-β1 is not fortuitous, but instead fulfills important requirements of TGF-β1 function after its secretion by regulatory T cells.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy