In humans with lymphatic filariasis microfilaremia is associated with a parasite antigen-specific hyporesponsiveness when assessed by cell proliferation and secretion of interleukin-2 and interferon-gamma. Hyporesponsiveness in these individuals is not only parasite antigen-specific but appears to be limited to Th1-type responses. Th2 mediated responses such as IL-5 secretion and IgE antibody production to parasite antigens are generally strong and usually no different than those seen in immunologically more reactive amicrofilaremic individuals with chronic lymphatic pathology. The mechanisms by which Th1 responses are inhibited have not yet been elucidated, but some studies suggest that down-regulatory cytokines such as IL-10 may be involved in this process. Mononuclear cells from microfilaremic individuals have been found to secrete greater quantities of IL-10 spontaneously and in response to parasite antigens. In this review, mechanisms by which IL-10 may be induced by the parasite and the mode by which IL-10 may regulate parasite antigen-specific Th1 responses in these individuals are discussed.