CD40 ligand (CD154) expression on activated T cells can be separated into an early TCR-dependent phase, which occurs between 0 and 24 h after activation, and a later extended phase, which occurs after 24 h and is reciprocally regulated by the cytokines IL-4 and IL-12. IL-4 represses, whereas IL-12 sustains CD154 expression. Consistent with this, Th1, but not Th2, cells express CD154 for extended periods. Differences in the duration of CD154 expression have important biological consequences because sustained, but not transient, expression of CD154 on activated T cells can prevent B cell terminal differentiation. Thus, the differential ability of Th cells to sustain CD154 expression is an important part of their helper function and should influence the activities of other CD40-expressing cell types.