The precise role of antigen-presenting cells (APC) in regulating the balance of T-helper type 1 (Th1) and T-helper type 2 (Th2) cytokine production is unclear. Dendritic cells (DC), the most potent APC for activation of naive T cells, were found to regulate Th1 and Th2 cytokine profiles in a fashion dependent upon their tissue of origin. Spleen (systemic) DC induce mainly Th1 cytokines and Peyer's patch (mucosal) DC induce predominantly Th2 cytokines. These findings support the current concept that different tissues, each with its distinct microenvironment of cytokines, hormones, and cellular elements, are involved in the selection, promotion, and/or maintenance of different immune responses. With regard to DC, it is apparent that the tissue of DC origin determines the cytokine profiles produced by T cells and that DC from different tissues favor either cellular versus humoral immune responses by influencing T cell cytokine production.