Induction of Long-Term Liver Allograft Survival by Delayed Immunosuppression is Dependent on Interleukin-10

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This study aims to investigate the potential role of endogenous interleukin (IL)-10 in long-term liver allograft survival induced by delayed immunosuppression (FK506 days 2-7). Liver transplantation was performed by using Dark Agouti and Lewis rats as donors and recipients, respectively. The delayed immunosuppression protocol induced indefinite allograft survival. A transient upregulation of plasma IL-10 levels was detected in the nontreatment and FK506 treatment groups. Macrophages were found to be one of the major sources of IL-10 produced from the liver allografts. Administration of IL-10–neutralizing antibody shortened the long-term isograft survival and FK506-induced indefinite allograft survival, particularly in the FK506 group. Damaged liver graft histology and increase of plasma alanine aminotransferase levels were detected in the groups with IL-10 antibody treatment. In an ex vivo setting, IL-10 recombinant protein augmented the expression of Foxp3, downregulated the expression of IL-2 and interferon gamma, and induced the generation of CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ and CD8+CD25+Foxp3+ cells, but this effect was blocked by the administration of IL-10 antibody. Finally, administration of IL-10 recombinant protein after the decline of endogenous IL-10 levels improved allograft survival, and a 100% long-term allograft survival was achieved by the combination of IL-10 with low-dose FK506. In conclusion, the delayed immunosuppression could induce long-term liver allograft survival in the presence of endogenous IL-10 produced by the tissue macrophages. Supplementary exogenous IL-10 administration combined with low-dose immunosuppressive drug may be a useful strategy to induce long-term liver allograft survival. Liver Transpl 13:571–578, 2007. © 2007 AASLD.

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