Interleukins IL-4 and IL-10 are considered to be central regulators for the limitation and eventual termination of inflammatory responses in vivo, based on their potent anti-inflammatory effects toward LPS-stimulated monocytes/macrophages and neutrophils. However, their role in T cell-dependent inflammatory responses has not been fully elucidated. In this study, we investigated the effects of both cytokines on the production of PGE 2, a key molecule of various inflammatory conditions, in CD40-stimulated human peripheral blood monocytes. CD40 ligation of monocytes induced the synthesis of a significant amount of PGE2 via inducible expression of the cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 gene. Both IL-10 and IL-4 significantly inhibited PGE2 production and COX-2 expression in CD40-stimulated monocytes. Using specific inhibitors for extracellular signal-related kinase (ERK) and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), we found that both kinase pathways are involved in CD40-induced COX-2 expression. CD40 ligation also resulted in the activation of NF-κB Additional experiments exhibited that CD40 clearly induced the activation of the upstream kinases MAPK/ERK kinase 1/2, MAPK kinase 3/6, and I-κB in monocytes. IL-10 significantly inhibited CD40-induced activation of the ERK, p38 MAPK, and NF-κB pathways; however, inhibition by IL-4 was limited to the ERK pathway in monocytes. Neither IL-10 nor IL-4 affected the recruitment of TNFR-associated factors 2 and 3 to CD40 in monocytes. Collectively, IL-10 and IL-4 use novel regulatory mechanisms for CD40-induced prostanoid synthesis in monocytes, thus suggesting a potential role for these cytokines in regulating T cell-induced inflammatory responses, including autoimmune diseases.
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