Experimental infection of mice with Listeria monocytogenes (L. monocytogenes) has served as an appropriate model for analyzing Th1-cell-driven immune responses. Generally, Th2 responses are absent and IL-4 is not detectable. Here, we describe experimental settings under which IL-4 is detectable in listeriosis. Our data suggest that IL-4 is rapidly produced after infection. This prompt IL-4 burst seems to stimulate chemokine responses and, therefore, may participate in the regulation of the early antilisterial host response. Soon thereafter, IL-4 production wanes. At least partially this seems to be caused by downregulation of IL-4-producing CD4+ NK1+ TCR alpha beta int lymphocytes by IL-12. In the absence of IFN-gamma responsiveness, IL-4 production is demonstrable during acquired immunity against L monocytogenes, and this elevated IL-4 production apparently contributes to disease exacerbation. In conclusion, the data are consistent with a detrimental role of IL-4 in listeriosis and active control of IL-4 synthesis by the antilisterial immune response. The rapid, but transient, IL-4 burst in listeriosis probably contributes to host defense without impairing development of the acquired T-cell response because of its shortness.