High-molecular-weight components (PI) of Ascaris suum suppress both cell-mediated and humoral responses against ovalbumin (OVA) via an IL-4/IL-10-dependent mechanism. The aim of this work was to investigate the effect of PI on the ability of APC to activate T cells and the role of IL-10 in this process. Flow cytometry analyses of MHC class II, CD80, CD86 and CD40 molecules on LN cells from mice immunized with OVA or OVA+PI showed that PI inhibits expression of these molecules on unfractionated cells and on purified CD11c+ cells. A low proliferative response was obtained when OVA-specific TCR-Tg T cells were incubated with CD11c+ cells from OVA+PI-immunized mice pulsed with OVA, when compared to those incubated with cells from OVA-immunized mice. Similar results were obtained using as APC CD11c+ cells from OVA-immunized mice pulsed with OVA+PI, which also expressed less of the four markers. The inhibitory effect of PI on both the expression of costimulatory molecules and the induction of T cell proliferation was abolished in IL-10-deficient mice. Our data indicate that the potent immunosuppressive effect of A. suum extract components on the host immune system is primarily related to their property of down-regulating the Ag-presenting ability of DC via an IL-10-mediated mechanism.