Interleukin-10 treatment can suppress stromal keratitis induced by herpes simplex virus type 1

Terrence M. Tumpey, Victor M. Elner, Shun Hua Chen, John E. Oakes, Robert N. Lausch

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115 Citations (Scopus)


Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) infection of the murine cornea induces an intense inflammatory response that can lead to permanent blindness. We tested whether IL-10, a cytokine that has anti-inflammatory properties, could suppress the development of stromal disease. Murine rIL-10 was inoculated intracorneally 4 h before and again on days +2 and +5 relative to the time of topical HSV-1 corneal infection. Additionally, the mice received IL-10 i.p. at the time of virus administration and again 3 days post-infection. Four weeks post-infection, the incidence of blinding disease was 95% in the saline-treated controls but only 36% in the IL-10-treated animals. Histologic studies showed extensive cellular infiltrates in control corneas but not in those of the IL-10-treated eyes. Examination of the proinflammatory cytokine levels in the cornea 10 days after infection revealed that the presence of IL-2 was 10-fold lower and IL-6 some 50-fold lower than that found in the controls. IL-1α levels were not reduced. The IL-10 treatment protocol employed did not suppress the systemic cellular or humoral immune responses to viral Ag, nor was the rate of HSV-1 clearance from the eye different from that seen in the controls. In vitro studies revealed that spontaneous production of IL-6 by excised normal corneas was inhibited by >95% with low dose IL-10. IL-1α synthesis was not inhibited. Collectively, these results indicate that IL-10 treatment can 1) suppress the production of certain cytokines produced by corneal cells, and 2) minimize ocular inflammation without compromising clearance of the infecting virus from the eye.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2258-2265
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1994 Sep 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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