The mucosal administration of the native antigen or peptide fragments corresponding to immunodominant regions is effective in preventing or treating several T cell-dependent models of autoimmune disease. No data are yet available on oral tolerance with immunodominant T-cell peptides in experimental autoimmune myasthenia gravis (EAMG), an animal model of B cell-dependent disease. We report that oral administration of the T-cell epitope alpha146-162 of the Torpedo californica acetylcholine receptor (TAChR) alpha-subunit suppressed T-cell responses to AChR and ameliorated the disease in C57Bl/6 (B6) mice. Protection from EAMG was associated with reduced serum Ab's to mouse AChR and reduced AChR loss in muscle. The effect of Talpha146-162 feeding was specific; treatment with a control peptide did not affect EAMG manifestations. The protective effect induced by peptide Talpha146-162 was mediated by reduced production of IFN-gamma, IL-2, and IL-10 by TAChR-reactive cells, suggesting T-cell anergy. TGF-beta-secreting Th3 cells did not seem to be involved in tolerance induction. We therefore demonstrate that feeding a single immunodominant epitope can prevent an Ab-mediated experimental model of autoimmune disease.