Oral ingestion of antigen elicits immune responses at mucosal sites where humoral immunity is largely due to antibodies of the IgA isotype. This is often accompanied by suppression of systemic responses to the same antigen, a state termed oral tolerance. This IgA response is regulated by interactions between T cell subsets found at IgA inductive tissues, i.e., the gut-associated lymphoreticular tissue (GALT) or Peyer's patches (PP). PP T helper (Th) cells support IgA responses, and interleukins 5 (IL-5) and IL-6 can augment secretion of this isotype. Subsets of Th cells may also express Fc receptors for IgA (FcαR) and secrete FcαR as an IgA-binding factor (IBFα Membrane-derived FcαR is a glycoprotein of 38,000 M.W. and this molecule induces selective increases in IgA secreting cells (as determined by the ELISPOT assay) in PP B cell cultures. FcαR+ T cell lines have been shown to secrete IBFα as well as IL-5 both of which promote IgA synthesis. Recombinant IL-5 (rIL-5) and rIL-6 induce IgA synthesis mainly by PP B cell blasts, and principally act on surface IgA-positive (sIgA+) B cells for these responses. Another form of mucosal regulation is provided by T contrasuppressor (Tcs) cells, which abrogate oral tolerance when adoptively transferred to mice and restore systemic responsiveness to the antigen sheep erythrocyte (SRBC). Tcs cells from mice systemically primed with SRBC support IgM and IgG subclass responses, while Tcs cells from orally primed mice support IgM, IgG subclass and IgA anti-SRBC responses. These Tcs cells are CD3+, CD4-, 8- and are antigen-specific. These regulatory cells may use the gamma-delta (γdelta; form of T cell receptor for antigen recognition. © 1989 Informa UK Ltd All rights reserved: reproduction in whole or part not permitted.