T helper lymphocytes can be divided into two distinct subsets of effector cells based on their functional capabilities and the profile of cytokines they produce. The Th1 subset of CD4+ T cells secretes cytokines usually associated with inflammation, such as IFN-gamma and TNF and induces cell-mediated immune responses. The Th2 subset produces cytokines such as IL-4 and IL-5 that help B cells to proliferate and differentiate and is associated with humoral-type immune responses. The selective differentiation of either subset is established during priming and can be significantly influenced by a variety of factors. One of these factors, the cytokine environment, has been put forward as the major variable influencing Th development and is already well reviewed by others. Instead, in the current review, we focus on some of the alternative approaches for skewing Th1/Th2 responses. Specifically, we discuss the effects on Th priming of (a) using altered peptide ligands as antigens, (b) varying the dose of antigen, and (c) altering costimulatory signals. The potential importance of each of these variables to influence immune responses to pathogens in vivo is discussed throughout.