The reversible acetylation of histones by histone deacetylases (HDACs) and acetyltransferases (HATs) plays a fundamental role in gene transcription. We previously showed that HDAC mRNA is upregulated in immune cells upon PHA-induced activation. Little is known, however, about the differential regulation of HDAC mRNAs by the HDAC inhibitors Trichostatin A (TSA) and butyrate, agents known to block proliferation and induce apoptosis. We report that apoptosis-inducing concentrations of TSA and butyrate upregulate the expression of HDAC mRNAs in a differential manner and act synergistically with PHA to induce HDAC expression, suggesting the presence of independent HDAC regulatory mechanisms. Moreover, we show that HDAC inhibitor-induced apoptosis is associated with early abrogation of gamma-IFN production by Th1 lymphocytes and with p53 mRNA downregulation. Our findings highlight the dynamic interplay of cell cycle-, activation- and apoptosis-related proteins in association with time-dependent expression of HDACs and are suggestive of different specific roles for these enzymes.