Psoriasis vulgaris, a type-1 cytokine-mediated chronic skin disease, can be treated successfully with fumaric acid esters (FAE). Beneficial effects of this medication coincided with decreased production of IFN-gamma. Since dendritic cells (DC) regulate the differentiation of T helper (Th) cells, this study focussed on effects of monomethylfumarate (MMF, bioactive metabolite of FAE) on polarization of monocyte-derived DC. MMF-incubated, lipo-polysaccharide-stimulated DC (MMF-DC) produced dramatically (p<0.05) reduced levels of IL-12p70 and IL-10 (8+/-4% and 20+/-4%, respectively) compared to control DC. MMF-DC were mature. MMF affected polarization of DC irrespective of polarization factor(s) and ligands for the various Toll-like receptors used. Coculture of MMF-DC with naive and primed allogenous Th cells resulted in lymphocytes producing less IFN-gamma, i.e. 59% and 54% of that by the respective Th cells cocultured with control DC. IL-4 production by primed, but not naive Th cells cocultured with MMF-DC was decreased as compared to cocultures with control DC. IL-10 production by naive and primed Th cells cocultured with MMF-DC and control DC did not differ. In addition, MMF inhibited LPS-induced NF-kappaB activation in DC. Together, beneficial effects of FAE in psoriasis involve modulation of DC polarization by MMF such that these cells down-regulate IFN-gamma production by Th cells.