To identify the molecular basis of IL-10 expression in human phagocytes, we evaluated the chromatin modification status at their IL-10 genomic locus. We analyzed posttranslational modifications of histones associated with genes that are active, repressed, or poised for transcriptional activation, including H3K4me3, H4Ac, H3K27Ac, and H3K4me1 marks. Differently from autologous IL-10-producing monocytes, none of the marks under evaluation was detected at the IL-10 locus of resting or activated neutrophils from healthy subjects or melanoma patients. By contrast, increased H3K4me3, H4Ac, H3K4me1, and H3K27Ac levels were detected at syntenic regions of the IL-10 locus in mouse neutrophils. Altogether, data demonstrate that human neutrophils, differently from either monocytes or mouse neutrophils, cannot switch on the IL-10 gene because its locus is in an inactive state, likely reflecting a neutrophil- specific developmental outcome. Implicitly, data also definitively settle a currently unsolved issue on the capacity of human neutrophils to produce IL-10.
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