There is increasing evidence that parasitic helminth infection has the ability to ameliorate other disease conditions. In this study the ability of the rat tapeworm, Hymenolepis diminuta, to modulate dinitrobenzene sulfonic acid (DNBS)-induced colitis in mice is assessed. Mice receiving DNBS (3 mg intrarectally) developed colitis by 72 h after treatment. Mice infected 8 days before DNBS with five H. diminuta larvae were significantly protected from the colitis, as gauged by reduced clinical disease, histological damage scores, and myeloperoxidase levels. This anticolitic effect was dependent on a viable infection and helminth rejection, because no benefit was observed in mice given killed larvae or in infected STAT6 knockout mice or rats, neither of which eliminate H. diminuta. The anticolitic effect of H. diminuta was associated with increased colonic IL-10 mRNA and stimulated splenocytes from H. diminuta- plus DNBS-treated mice produced more IL-10 than splenocytes from DNBS-only treated mice. Coadministration of an anti-IL-10 Ab blocked the anticolitic effect of prophylactic H. diminuta infection. Also, mice infected 48 h after DNBS treatment showed an enhanced recovery response. Finally, using a model of OVA hypersensitivity, we found no evidence of concomitant H. diminuta infection enhancing enteric responsiveness to subsequent ex vivo OVA challenge. The data show that a viable infection of H. diminuta in a nonpermissive system exerts a profound anticolitic effect (both prophylactically and as a treatment) that is mediated at least in part via IL-10 and does not predispose to enhanced sensitivity to bystander proteins.