The purine nucleoside adenosine is an important anti-inflammatory molecule, inhibiting a variety of immune cells by adenosine receptor-mediated mechanisms. Invariant NKT (iNKT) cells recognize glycolipids presented on CD1d molecules and produce vigorous amounts of cytokines upon activation, hence regulating immune reactions. The mechanisms polarizing their cytokine pattern are elusive. Previous studies demonstrated that adenosine can suppress IFN-gamma production by iNKT cells. We describe the expression of all four known adenosine receptors A1R, A2aR, A2bR and A3R on mouse iNKT cells. We show that IL-4 production in primary mouse iNKT cells and a human iNKT line is efficiently inhibited by A2aR blockade with an inverse relation to IL-4. These data are supported by A2aR-deficient mice, which exhibit largely decreased levels of IL-4, IL-10 and TGF-beta concomitantly with an increase of IFN-gamma upon alpha-galactosylceramide administration in vivo. While A2aR inhibits other lymphocyte populations, A2aR is required for the secretion of IL-4 and IL-10 by iNKT cells. These data suggest adenosine:A2aR-mediated mechanisms can control the cytokine secretion pattern of iNKT cells.