IL-10 is a pluripotent cytokine that plays a pivotal role in the regulation of immune and inflammatory responses. Whereas short-term administration of IL-10 has shown benefit in acute glomerulonephritis, no studies have addressed the potential benefits of IL-10 in chronic renal disease. Chronically elevated blood levels of IL-10 in rats were achieved by administration of a recombinant adeno-associated virus serotype 1 IL-10 (rAAV1-IL-10) vector. Control rats were given a similar dose of rAAV1-GFP. Four weeks after injection, IL-10 levels in serum were measured by ELISA, and chronic renal disease was induced by a 5/6 nephrectomy (n = 6 in each group). Eight weeks later, rats were killed and renal tissue was obtained for RNA, protein, and immunohistochemical analysis. Serum levels of IL-10 were 12-fold greater in the rAAV1-IL-10 group by 4 wk after rAAV1-IL-10 administration (345 ± 169 versus 28 ± 15 pg/ml; P = 0.001), and levels were maintained throughout the experiment. rAAV1-IL-10 treatment resulted in less proteinuria (P < 0.05), lower serum creatinine (P < 0.05), and higher creatinine clearances (P < 0.01) compared with rAAV1-GFP-treated rats. Renal interstitial infiltration was significantly attenuated by rAAV1-IL-10 administration as assessed by numbers of CD4 +, CD8+, monocyte-macrophages (ED-1+) and dendritic (OX-62+) cells (P < 0.05), and this correlated with reductions in the renal expression of monocyte (renal monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 mRNA and protein) and T cell (RANTES mRNA) chemokines. rAAV1-IL-10 administration decreased mRNA levels of IFN-γ and IL-2 in the kidney. The reduction in inflammatory cells was associated with a significant reduction in glomerulosclerosis and interstitial fibrosis. It is concluded that IL-10 blocks inflammation and improves renal function in this model of chronic renal disease. The feasibility of long-term overexpression of a gene using the AAV serotype 1 vector system in a model of renal disease is also demonstrated. Copyright © 2005 by the American Society of Nephrology.