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Interleukin (IL)-10 is generally regarded as an anti-inflammatory cytokine, since it acts on a variety of cell types to suppress production of proinflammatory mediators. In inflammation, endothelial cells (EC) play a crucial role in recruiting leukocytes to sites of injury or infection. In this study, the actions of IL-10 on human umbilical vein EC were investigated. IL-10 reduced migration of monocytes and T lymphocytes across endothelium stimulated by lipopolysaccharide and decreased endothelial production of chemokines in response to lipopolysaccharide and Borrelia burgdorferi, the agent of
Lyme disease. However, IL-10 did not affect these responses when EC were activated by the host proinflammatory cytokines IL-lbeta or tumor necrosis factor alpha. Moreover, IL-10 did not prevent up-regulation of the adhesion molecules E-selectin and intercellular adhesion molecule-1 by EC exposed to any of these activating agents. IL-10 therefore inhibits proinflammatory activation of EC in a manner that is selective with respect to stimulus and effector response.