Oral tolerance prevents oral sensitization to dietary antigens (Ags), including proteins and haptens, and development of delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) responses. We showed here that plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) prevented oral T cell priming and were responsible for systemic tolerance to CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cell-mediated DTH responses induced by Ag feeding. Systemic depletion of pDCs prevented induction of tolerance by antigen feeding. Transfer of oral Ag-loaded liver pDCs to naive recipient mice induced Ag-specific suppression of CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cell responses to protein and hapten, respectively. Liver is a site of oral Ag presentation, and pDCs appeared to induce anergy or deletion of Ag-specific T cells in the liver relatively rapidly via a CD4(+) T cell-independent mechanism. These data demonstrate that oral tolerance relies on Ag presentation by pDC to T cells and suggest that pDC could represent a key therapeutic target for intestinal and systemic inflammatory diseases.