After stimulation of antigen-specific T cells, dendritic cell (DCs) are susceptible to killing by these activated T cells that involve perforin and Fas-dependent mechanisms. Fas-dependent DC apoptosis has been shown to limit DC accumulation and prevent the development of autoimmunity. However, a role for perforin in the maintenance of DC homeostasis for immune regulation remains to be determined. Here we show that perforin deficiency in mice, together with the deletion of Fas in DCs (perforin(-/-)DC-Fas(-/-)), led to DC accumulation, uncontrolled T-cell activation, and IFN-γ production by CD8+ T cells, resulting in the development of lethal hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis. Consistently, adoptive transfer of Fas(-/-) DCs induced over-activation and IFN-γ production in perforin(-/-) CD8+ T cells. Neutralization of IFN-γ prevented the spreading of inflammatory responses to different cell types and protected the survival of perforin(-/-)DC-Fas(-/-) mice. Our data suggest that perforin and Fas synergize in the maintenance of DC homeostasis to limit T cell activation, and prevent the initiation of an inflammatory cascade.