The family of IL-10-related cytokines includes several human members, IL-19, IL-20, IL-22, IL-24 and IL-26, and a series of herpesviral and poxviral paralogs. Some of these cytokines share common receptor subunits. In this study, we investigated the effects of these cytokines on naive T cell differentiation, antigen-specific T cell suppression, survival and expression of surface markers in comparison to IL-10 and cytomegalovirus (CMV)-IL-10. Human CD45RA(+) T cells were stimulated in the presence of IL-10-family cytokines in sequential 12-day cycles. After three to four cycles of stimulation, IL-10 and CMV-IL-10 led to increased IFN-gamma and IL-10 but decreased IL-4 and IL-13. Interestingly, long-term exposure of T cells to IL-19, IL-20 and IL-22 down-regulated IFN-gamma but up-regulated IL-4 and IL-13 in T cells and supported the polarization of naive T cells toTh2-like cells. in contrast, neutralization of endogenous IL-22 activity by IL-22-binding protein decreased IL-4, IL-13 and IFN-gamma synthesis. The antigen-specific suppressor activity of IL-10 and CMV-IL-10 was not observed for any of the other IL-10-family cytokines. These data demonstrate that IL-19, IL-20 and IL-22 may participate in T cell-mediated diseases by distinct regulation of T cell cytokine profiles.