We have previously demonstrated the loss of oral tolerance (OT) in lymphotoxinalpha-/- (LTalpha-/-) and TNFalpha / lymphotoxinalpha deficient (TNFalpha / LTalpha-/-) mice which have defective Peyer's patches (PP) and lymph node (LN) development. We have now studied OT in BALB / c mice with differential defects of the gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) caused by inhibition of LTbetaR signaling during fetal development. Treatment of pregnant mice with LTbetaR-IgG (LTbetaRIgG) and TNFR I55-IgG (TNFR55IgG) abrogates the formation of PP (LTbetaRIgG) or of PP and mesenteric LN (MLN) (LTbetaRIgG / TNFRIgG) without genetically deleting the respective cytokine pathways. OT was readily induced in mice without PP but retaining MLN (PP null / LN +). In contrast, OTcould not be induced in mice lacking both MLN and PP (PP null / MLN null) as shown by the inability of these mice to suppress IFN-gamma secretion or DTH reactions. We next assessed OT in 129 x B6 LTalpha-/- mice with and without MLN. Timed treatment of pregnant LTalpha-/- mice with an agonist anti-LTbetaR mAb induces formation of MLN but not of PP in LTalpha-/- mice. LN + LTalpha-/- mice developed OT while LN LTalpha-/- mice were resistant to OT induction. Taken collectively, the data show that in the presence of MLN PP are not required for OT induction and that the presence of MLN is sufficient for OT induction in the LTalpha-/- model.