Fibrinogen-like protein 2 (fgl2)/fibroleukin is a member of the fibrinogen-related protein superfamily. In addition to its established role in triggering thrombosis, it is known to be secreted by T cells. The soluble fgl2 ((s)fgl2) protein generated in a baculovirus expression system bound to both T cells and bone marrow-derived dendritic cells (DC) in a specific manner. (s)fgl2 exhibited immunomodulatory properties capable of inhibiting T cell proliferation stimulated by alloantigens, anti-CD3/anti-CD28 mAbs, and Con A in a dose-dependent manner; however, it had no inhibitory effects on CTL activity. The time- and dose-dependent inhibitory effect of (s)fgl2 on alloreactive T cell proliferation could be neutralized by a mAb against mouse fgl2. Polarization toward a Th2 cytokine profile with decreased production of IL-2 and IFN-gamma and increased production of IL-4 and IL-10 was observed in (s)fgl2-treated allogeneic cultures. Exposure of immature DC to (s)fgl2 abrogated the expression of CD80(high) and MHC class II(high) molecules and markedly inhibited NF-kappaB nuclear translocation, thus inhibiting their maturation. (s)Fgl2-treated DC had an impaired ability to stimulate allogeneic T cell proliferation. Maximal inhibition of proliferation was observed when allogeneic T cells were cultured with (s)fgl2-treated DC and (s)fgl2 protein was added in the culture. These data provide the first evidence to demonstrate that (s)fgl2 exerts immunosuppressive effects on T cell proliferation and DC maturation.