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Interleukin-10 (IL-10) is a potent regulator of proinflammatory cytokines, including tumor necrosis factor-alpha, IL-1, IL-6, and interferon-gamma. We retrospectively evaluated 66 severely injured patients for detectable plasma IL-10. the presence or absence of IL-10 was correlated with clinical parameters. Forty of 66 patients had detectable levels of IL-10. Plasma IL-10 was associated with admission hypotension (p < 0.01) and the development of sepsis (p < 0.05). There was no difference between IL-10-positive and -negative patients with respect to age, mechanism or severity of injury, blood transfusion, operative interventions, or the subsequent development of ARDS, hepatic dysfunction, or renal insufficiency. We conclude that IL-10 can be detected in the plasma of some severely injured patients and that it is associated with the development of sepsis. Further investigation of the immunoregulatory effects of IL-10 after trauma is indicated.