Molecular and functional heterogeneity of IL-10-producing CD4 + T cells

Leonie Brockmann, Shiwa Soukou, Babett Steglich, Paulo Czarnewski, Lilan Zhao, Sandra Wende, Tanja Bedke, Can Ergen, Carolin Manthey, Theodora Agalioti, Maria Geffken, Oliver Seiz, Sara M. Parigi, Chiara Sorini, Jens Geginat, Keishi Fujio, Thomas Jacobs, Thomas Roesch, Jacob R. Izbicki, Ansgar W. LohseRichard A. Flavell, Christian Krebs, Jan Ake Gustafsson, Per Antonson, Maria Grazia Roncarolo, Eduardo J. Villablanca, Nicola Gagliani, Samuel Huber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


IL-10 is a prototypical anti-inflammatory cytokine, which is fundamental to the maintenance of immune homeostasis, especially in the intestine. There is an assumption that cells producing IL-10 have an immunoregulatory function. However, here we report that IL-10-producing CD4 + T cells are phenotypically and functionally heterogeneous. By combining single cell transcriptome and functional analyses, we identified a subpopulation of IL-10-producing Foxp3 neg CD4 + T cells that displays regulatory activity unlike other IL-10-producing CD4 + T cells, which are unexpectedly pro-inflammatory. The combinatorial expression of co-inhibitory receptors is sufficient to discriminate IL-10-producing CD4 + T cells with regulatory function from others and to identify them across different tissues and disease models in mice and humans. These regulatory IL-10-producing Foxp3 neg CD4 + T cells have a unique transcriptional program, which goes beyond the regulation of IL-10 expression. Finally, we found that patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease demonstrate a deficiency in this specific regulatory T-cell subpopulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5457
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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