Eicosanoids (prostaglandins and leukotrienes) are important mediators of inflammatory responses. These lipid mediators may also regulate the production of peptide mediators of the immune system. In this study, we investigated the effect of the absence of 5-lipoxygenase (5-LO)-derived leukotrienes on interleukin (IL)-10 production. IL-10 is a key regulator of immune and inflammatory responses, and previous studies have suggested that prostaglandins effect their immunosuppressive functions in part by stimulation of IL-10 production. We therefore investigated whether leukotriene production would have a similar role in regulation of IL-10 production. We have made the striking observation that absence of 5-LO-derived leukotrienes results in increased IL-10 production with a concomitant decrease in the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, including tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha and IL-12. Moreover, T-cell cytokine production in the absence of 5-LO-derived leukotrienes results in increased IL-4 production and decreased interferon (IFN)-gamma production. This may be in part secondary to increased IL-10 production and its effects on dendritic cell function resulting in altered T-cell differentiation. These findings indicate that, in addition to the central role leukotrienes play in the acute inflammatory response, endogenous leukotrienes are also important regulators of inflammatory cytokine production, via regulation of IL-10 production and in vivo differentiation of T cells.