We examined the effects of IL-10 on tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) and NO production by LPS-activated macrophages and on the ability of these cells to control Trypanosoma cruzi infection. We first observed that the addition of rIL-10 to macrophages of the J774 cell line decreased their synthesis of TNF-α but increased their release of NO in a dose-dependent manner. In parallel, treatment of J774 cells with rIL-10 resulted in a better control of T. cruzi infection involving up-regulation of NO synthesis, as it was not observed in presence of N-nitro- L-arginine methyl ester ( L-NAME), a competitive inhibitor of NO synthase. The enhancing effect of rIL-10 on NO production was not observed on peritoneal macrophages from wild-type C57Bl/6 mice, but well on macrophages from IL-10 knock-out mice. The control of NO production by endogenous IL-10 was confirmed by the demonstration that neutralization of IL-10 secreted by LPS-activated macrophages from wild-type mice inhibited their production of NO and, in parallel, their ability to control T. cruzi infection. Taken together, these data demonstrate that both exogenous and endogenous IL-10 up-regulate the production of NO by LPS-activated macrophages and improve thereby their ability to clear T. cruzi infection.