Resident host microflora condition and prime the immune system. However, systemic and mucosal immune responses to bacteria may be divergent. Our aim was to compare, in vitro, cytokine production by human mononuclear and dendritic cells (DCs) from mesenteric lymph nodes (MLNs) and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) to defined microbial stimuli. Mononuclear cells and DCs isolated from the MLN (n = 10) and peripheral blood (n = 12) of patients with active colitis were incubated in vitro with the probiotic bacteria Lactobacillus salivarius UCC118 or Bifidobacterium infantis 35624 or the pathogenic organism Salmonella typhimurium UK1. Interleukin (IL)-12, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta, and IL-10 cytokine levels were quantified by ELISA. PBMCs and PBMC-derived DCs secreted TNF-alpha in response to the Lactobacillus, Bifidobacteria, and Salmonella strains, whereas MLN cells and MLN-derived DCs secreted TNF-alpha only in response to Salmonella challenge. Cells from the systemic compartment secreted IL-12 after coincubation with Salmonella or Lactobacilli, whereas MLN-derived cells produced IL-12 only in response to Salmonella. PBMCs secreted IL-10 in response to the Bifidobacterium strain but not in response to the Lactobacillus or Salmonella strain. However, MLN cells secreted IL-10 in response to Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli but not in response to Salmonella. In conclusion, commensal bacteria induced regulatory cytokine production by MLN cells, whereas pathogenic bacteria induce T cell helper 1-polarizing cytokines. Commensal-pathogen divergence in cytokine responses is more marked in cells isolated from the mucosal immune system compared with PBMCs.