Effector T cells control lung inflammation during acute influenza virus infection by producing IL-10

Jie Sun, Rajat Madan, Christopher L. Karp, Thomas J. Braciale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

404 Scopus citations


Activated antigen-specific T cells produce a variety of effector molecules for clearing infection but also contribute to inflammation and tissue injury. Here we report an anti-inflammatory property of antiviral CD8+ and CD4+ effector T cells (Teff cells) in the infected periphery during acute virus infection. We find that, during acute influenza infection, interleukin-10 (IL-10) is produced in the infected lungs in large amounts - exclusively by infiltrating virus-specific Teff cells, with CD8+ Teff cells contributing a larger fraction of the IL-10 produced. These Teff cells in the periphery simultaneously produce IL-10 and proinflammatory cytokines and express lineage markers characteristic of conventional T helper type 1 or T cytotoxic type 1 cells. Notably, blocking the action of the Teff cell-derived IL-10 results in enhanced pulmonary inflammation and lethal injury. Our results show that antiviral Teff cells exert regulatory functions - that is, they fine-tune the extent of lung inflammation and injury associated with influenza infection by producing an anti-inflammatory cytokine. We discuss the potential implications of these findings for infection with highly pathogenic influenza viruses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-284
Number of pages8
JournalNature Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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