Interleukin (IL)-10 is an anti-inflammatory cytokine that has great potential for use in the treatment of inflammatory and immune illnesses. In this study, gene transfer was used to induce IL-10 transgene expression in murine lungs for treatment of endotoxin-induced lung inflammation. Gene transfer was performed with a cytomegalovirus (CMV)-IL-10 plasmid with the aid of the liposomal agents LipofectAMINE and N-[1-(2,3-dioleoyl)propyl]-N,N, N-trimethylammonium methylsulfate (DOTAP). Administration of the endotoxin caused a marked increase in lung inflammation as indicated by increased tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha release and neutrophil count. Pretreatment of the mice with IL-10 plasmid with and without LipofectAMINE had no inhibitory effect on lung inflammation and IL-10 transgene expression. LipofectAMINE by itself induced lung inflammation, an effect that was not observed with DOTAP. IL-10 plasmid when codelivered with DOTAP expressed biologically active IL-10 protein and caused a reduction in endotoxin-induced inflammation. Transgene expression was observed as early as 3 h after administration, peaked at 12 h, and declined thereafter. We conclude that IL-10 gene transfer is a feasible approach for the treatment of lung inflammation.
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