The cytokine IL-10 is a key anti-inflammatory mediator ensuring protection of a host from over-exuberant responses to pathogens and microbiota, while playing important roles in other settings as sterile wound healing, autoimmunity, cancer, and homeostasis. Here we discuss our current understanding of the regulation of IL-10 production and of the molecular pathways associated with IL-10 responses. In addition to IL-10’s classic inhibitory effects on myeloid cells, we also describe the nonclassic roles attributed to this pleiotropic cytokine, including how IL-10 regulates basic processes of neural and adipose cells and how it promotes CD8 T cell activation, as well as epithelial repair. We further discuss its therapeutic potential in the context of different diseases and the outstanding questions that may help develop an effective application of IL-10 in diverse clinical settings.

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