The control of damaging inflammation by the mucosal immune system in response to commensal and harmful ingested bacteria is unknown. Here we show epithelial cells conditioned mucosal dendritic cells through the constitutive release of thymic stromal lymphopoietin and other mediators, resulting in the induction of 'noninflammatory' dendritic cells. Epithelial cell-conditioned dendritic cells released interleukins 10 and 6 but not interleukin 12, and they promoted the polarization of T cells toward a 'classical' noninflammatory T helper type 2 response, even after exposure to a T helper type 1-inducing pathogen. This control of immune responses seemed to be lost in patients with Crohn disease. Thus, the intimate interplay between intestinal epithelial cells and dendritic cells may help to maintain gut immune homeostasis.