Oral administration of myelin basic protein (MBP) inhibits clinical and histopathological manifestations of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), but only partially reduces serum anti-MBP antibody titers. We report here that orally administered MBP alters the isotypic distribution of anti-MBP antibody-forming cells (AFC) among various lymphoid tissues, with the most profound differences seen in mucosal tissues. We observed an isotype-selective reduction in anti-MBP IgA but not IgM AFC frequencies in Peyer's patches. The anti-MBP IgA AFC frequencies could be reconstituted by addition of interleukin 4 (IL-4) and interleukin 5(IL-5). The cytokines did not appear to generate de novo responses since no increases in anti-MBP lgA AFC frequencies were observed in control cultures. These results indicate that decreased antibody production, as a result of oral antigen administration, can be reversed by exposure to the appropriate cytokines.