Reduced IL-10 production and -receptor expression in neonatal T lymphocytes


C. Schultz, MD, Department of Paediatrics, Medical University of Lübeck, Ratzeburger Allee 160, 23538 Lübeck, Germany. Tel: +49–451-500 2644 | Fax: +49–451-500 3767 | Email:


Aim: To further evaluate the underlying mechanism of a formerly demonstrated immature anti-inflammatory response in neonates (1).

Methods: Interleukin (IL)-10 production was measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent-assay (ELISA) after anti-CD3/anti-CD28 costimulation of neonatal and adult T cells. IL-10 receptor expression on T lymphocytes, B lymphocytes and monocytes were analysed by flow cytometry in neonates and adult controls.

Results: After anti-CD3/anti-CD28 costimulation, IL-10 production of neonatal T lymphocytes was profoundly reduced (median 247 pg/mL vs. 1062 pg/mL, p < 0.0001). IL-10 receptor expression was diminished on neonatal T lymphocytes compared to adults (3% vs. 39.5% IL-10 receptor positive lymphocytes; p < 0.0001). On neonatal B lymphocytes and monocytes the IL-10 receptor expression was comparable to adult controls.

Conclusion: The strongly reduced IL-10 receptor expression on the main immune regulative T lymphocytes in conjunction with a significantly impaired synthesis of IL-10 may play a crucial role in the formerly demonstrated deficient anti-inflammatory immune response in neonates.