Dendritic cell (DC)-derived IL-1α/β plays a critical role in the induction of T helper type 1 (Th1)-dependent immunity against Leishmania. DCs from susceptible BALB/c mice produce less IL-1α/β when compared with resistant C57BL/6 mice, contributing to aberrant Th2 development and ultimate death of infected mice. We have extended our studies of the role of IL-1 in leishmaniasis using IL-1RA(-/-) BALB/c mice that are characterized by upregulated IL-1 receptor signaling. Unexpectedly, infection of IL-1RA(-/-) mice led to significantly worsened disease outcome with larger lesions, dramatically higher parasite burdens, and decreased IFN-γ production by antigen-specific T cells. We determined that IL-1RA(-/-) DCs were more mature already in the steady state, exhibited less phagocytotic capacity, and IL-12 production in response to various stimuli was impaired. Our data suggest that in addition to effects on Th education, IL-1α/β signaling also modulates DC homeostasis with increased signaling, leading to downmodulation of IL-12 synthesis and worsened disease outcome after infection with Leishmania major. Thus, the complex regulation of various members of the IL-1 cytokine family mediated through effects on both DCs and T cells critically contributes to disease outcome against this important human pathogen.