Granulomas induced by parasite eggs are the primary lesions in mice infected with Schistosoma mansoni. Temporal analysis of cytokine mRNA expression in lung tissue containing synchronized granulomas demonstrated a Th0-like pattern of lymphokine expression. IFN-γ, IL-1β, and IL-6 were the primary cytokines induced by day 1 in developing lung granulomas initiated by i.v. egg injection. These changes were followed by increases in expression of IL-2, IL-4, and IL-10 mRNA on day 3 and TNF-α and IL-5 mRNA on day 6. Nearly all cytokine mRNA reached maximal levels by day 6, which preceded the peak in granuloma size seen on day 14. In vivo treatment of egg-injected mice with either anti-IL-2 or anti-IL-4 antibodies significantly diminished the size of circumoval granulomas in the lungs. Both groups of antibody-treated animals displayed a marked reduction in IL-4 as well as IL-5 mRNA expression, although IFN-γ and IL-2 mRNA levels were unchanged or slightly increased. These findings confirm previous observations suggesting a role for IL-2 in egg-induced pathology via the generation of Th2-associated responses, and also indicate a primary function for IL-4 in granuloma formation. Analysis of responses after injection of eggs into nude mice demonstrated that only the Th2 cytokines IL-4 and IL-5 are exclusively dependent on T cells for their induction. Taken together, these data suggest that Th2 cells producing IL-4 play a major role in egg granuloma formation, and that the induction and ultimate down-modulation of Th2-like responses may be influenced by non-T- cell-derived cytokines.