BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES Interleukin 10 (IL-10) is a potent anti-inflammatory cytokine. The dysregulation of IL-10 is associated with an enhanced immunopathologic response to infection, as well as with an increased risk for developing numerous autoimmune diseases. In this study, we investigated IL-10 expression in chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps (CRSwNP) and assessed the possible role of IL-10 in the pathogenesis of CRSwNP. MATERIALS AND METHODS Thirty-five patients with CRSwNP, 12 patients with chronic rhinosinusitis without NP (CRSsNP) and 10 control subjects were enrolled in this study. NP tissues and uncinated tissues (UT) were collected for analysis. Dispersed NP cells (DNPCs) were cultured in the presence or absence of IL-25 and IL-10, and a flow cytometric assay was performed to identify the constitutive cell populations of the DNPCs. Murine NP (n = 18) models were used for the in vivo experiments. Real-time PCR, immunohistochemistry, western blotting analysis and ELISA were performed to measure the expression levels of the selected inflammatory cytokines and inflammation-associated molecules. RESULTS The mRNA expression levels of IL-10, IL-5, IL-17A, IL-25 and interferon gamma (IFN-γ) were significantly higher in the NP tissues than in the UT tissues. Strong positive correlations were observed between IL-10 and a variety of inflammatory cytokines (IL-5, IL-17A, IL-25, IFN-γ) and inflammation-associated molecules (B-cell activating factor; BAFF, CD19). Other than the IL-25 to IL-10 ratio, the expression ratios of the other measured inflammatory cytokines to IL-10 were significantly lower in the CRSwNP group than in the CRSsNP or control groups. Administrating IL-25 into the cultured DNPCs significantly increased the production of IL-10, but administrating IL-10 had no effect on the production of IL-25. CONCLUSION Increased expression of IL-10, IL-10 related inflammatory cytokine, and IL-10 related B cell activation indicated that IL-10, a potent anti-inflammatory cytokine, has a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of CRSwNPs.