Oral delivery of a large dose or prolonged feeding of protein Ags induce systemic unresponsiveness most often characterized as reduced IgG and IgE Ab- and Ag-specific CD4+ T cell responses. It remains controversial whether oral tolerance extends to diminished mucosal IgA responses in the gastrointestinal tract. To address this issue, mice were given a high oral dose of OVA or PBS and then orally immunized with OVA and cholera toxin as mucosal adjuvant, and both systemic and mucosal immune responses were assessed. OVA-specific serum IgG and IgA and mucosal IgA Ab levels were markedly reduced in mice given OVA orally compared with mice fed PBS. Furthermore, when OVA-specific Ab-forming cells (AFCs) in both systemic and mucosa-associated tissues were examined, IgG AFCs in the spleen and IgA AFCs in the gastrointestinal tract lamina propria of mice given OVA orally were dramatically decreased. Furthermore, marked reductions in OVA-specific CD4+ T cell proliferative and cytokine responses in spleen and Peyer's patches were seen in mice given oral OVA but were unaffected in PBS-fed mice. We conclude that high oral doses of protein induce both mucosal and systemic unresponsiveness and that use of mucosal adjuvants that induce both parenteral and mucosal immunity may be a better way to assess oral tolerance.