To evaluate the effect of antigen-pulsed dendritic cell (DC) transfer on the development of diabetes, 5-week-old female NOD mice received a single iv injection of splenic syngeneic DC from euglycemic NOD mice pulsed in vitro with human y globulin (HGG). Eleven of 12 mice were protected from the development of diabetes up to the age of 25 weeks, and the insulitis score was significantly reduced. In contrast, NOD mice receiving unpulsed splenic DCs showed histological signs of insulitis and course of type 1 diabetes similar to untreated NOD mice. Treatment with HGG-pulsed DC was associated with profound modifications of cytokine secretory capacities within the islets. Thus, supernatants of islets from these mice contained increased levels of interleukin (IL)-4, IL-10, and, to a lesser extent, interferon-gamma and diminished levels of tumor necrosis factor-a compared with controls. Because exogenous IL-4 and IL-10 exert antidiabetogenic effect in NOD mice and early blockade of endogenous tumor necrosis factor-alpha prevents NOD mouse diabetes, these phenomena may be causally related to the antidiabetogenic effect of HGG-pulsed DC treatment.