Interleukin 10 (IL10) is a potent immune-regulating cytokine and inhibitor of inflammatory cytokine synthesis. To evaluate the anti-inflammatory role of IL10 in pregnancy, the response of genetically IL10-deficient mice to low-dose lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced abortion was examined. When IL10-null mutant C57Bl/6 (Il10−/−) and control (Il10 / ) mice were administered low-dose LPS on Day 9.5 of gestation, IL10 deficiency predisposed to fetal loss accompanied by growth restriction in remaining viable fetuses, with an approximately 10-fold reduction in the threshold dose for 100% abortion. After LPS administration, inflammatory cytokines tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNFA) and IL6 were markedly increased in serum, uterine, and conceptus tissues in Il10−/− mice compared with Il10 / mice, with elevated local synthesis of Tnfa and Il6 mRNAs in the gestational tissues. IL1A and IL12p40 were similarly elevated in serum and gestational tissues, whereas interferon gamma (IFNG) and soluble TNFRII content were unchanged in the absence of IL10. Recombinant IL10 rescued the increased susceptibility to LPS-induced fetal loss in Il10−/− mice but did not improve outcomes in Il10 / mice. IL10 genotype also influenced the responsiveness of mice to a TNFA antagonist, etanercept. Fetal loss in Il10−/− mice was partly alleviated by moderate or high doses of etanercept, whereas Il10 / mice were refractory to high-dose etanercept, consistent with attenuation by IL10 status of TNFA bioavailability after etanercept treatment. These data show that IL10 modulates resistance to inflammatory stimuli by downregulating expression of proinflammatory cytokines TNFA, IL6, IL1A, and IL12, acting to protect against inflammation-induced pathology in the implantation site.
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Vol. 76 • No. 5