Evaluation of the immunomodulatory effects of interleukin-10 on peripheral blood immune cells of COVID-19 patients: Implication for COVID-19 therapy: Frontiers in Immunology

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Objective: Several therapies with immune-modulatory functions have been proposed to reduce the overwhelmed inflammation associated with COVID-19. Here we investigated the impact of IL-10 in COVID-19, through the ex-vivo assessment of the effects of exogenous IL-10 on SARS-CoV-2-specific-response using a whole-blood platform. Methods: Two cohorts were evaluated: in “study population A”, plasma levels of 27 immune factors were measured by a multiplex (Luminex) assay in 39 hospitalized “COVID-19 patients” and 29 “NO COVID-19 controls” all unvaccinated. In “study population B”, 29 COVID-19 patients and 30 NO COVID-19-Vaccinated Controls (NO COVID-19-VCs) were prospectively enrolled for the IL-10 study. Whole-blood was stimulated overnight with SARS-COV-2 antigens and then treated with IL-10. Plasma was collected and used for ELISA and multiplex assay. In parallel, whole-blood was stimulated and used for flow cytometry analysis. Results: Baseline levels of several immune factors, including IL-10, were significantly elevated in COVID-19 patients compared with NO COVID-19 subjects in “study population A”. Among them, IL-2, FGF, IFN-γ, and MCP-1 reached their highest levels within the second week of infection and then decreased. To note that, MCP-1 levels remained significantly elevated compared with controls. IL-10, GM-CSF, and IL-6 increased later and showed an increasing trend over time. Moreover, exogenous addition of IL-10 significantly downregulated IFN-γ response and several other immune factors in both COVID-19 patients and NO COVID-19-VCs evaluated by ELISA and a multiplex analysis (Luminex) in “study population B”. Importantly, IL-10 did not affect cell survival, but decreased the frequencies of T-cells producing IFN-γ, TNF-α, and IL-2 (p
Original languageEnglish
JournalFront. Immunol.
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • COVID-19
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor
  • HLA-DR Antigens
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-10
  • Interleukin-2
  • Interleukin-6
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • cytokine
  • eotaxin
  • fibroblast growth factor 1
  • granulocyte macrophage colony stimulating factor
  • growth factor
  • immunoglobulin G
  • immunoglobulin M
  • interferon
  • interleukin 10
  • interleukin 2
  • interleukin 4
  • interleukin 5
  • interleukin 6
  • interleukin 7
  • macrophage inflammatory protein
  • monocyte chemotactic protein 1
  • platelet derived growth factor
  • pro inflammatory cytokine
  • unclassified drug
  • HLA DR antigen
  • tumor necrosis factor
  • adult
  • Article
  • assay
  • cohort analysis
  • controlled study
  • coronavirus disease 2019
  • enzyme linked immunosorbent assay
  • ex vivo study
  • female
  • flow cytometry
  • human
  • human cytokine 27 plex assay
  • immunocompetent cell
  • immunotherapy
  • male
  • middle aged
  • normal human
  • Peptide pools
  • peripheral blood immune cell
  • plasma
  • serology
  • IL-10
  • Natutal Killer Cells
  • spike
  • T cell
  • whole-blood


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