The role of isolated components obtained by gel filtration chromatography of Ascaris suum body extract (Asc) on the modulation of the immune response to ovalbumin (OvA) was evaluated and correlated with the immunogenic properties of such components. We showed that high (PI), but not low (PIII), molecular weight components have the ability to inhibit OvA-induced immediate and DTH reactions, lymph node (LN) cell proliferation, cytokine (IL-2, interferon-gamma (IFN-γ), IL-4 and IL-10) and antibody (IgG1, IgG2a, IgM and IgE) production in mice concomitantly immunized with OvA and these high mol. wt components. The pattern of cytokines synthesized in response to PI or PIII was totally different: the former induced more IL-4 and IL-10 and the latter more IL-2 and IFN-γ. The levels of Asc-specific IgG1 antibodies were higher in mice immunized with OvA plus PI and IgG2a anti-Asc antibodies predominated in those immunized with PIII. IgE antibody production, however, was low in the former group of mice. These results indicate that the high mol. wt components present in the body extract from the helminth A. suum are responsible for its suppressive effect upon Th1- and Th2-dependent immune responses to an unrelated antigen. The suppression of the Th1-dependent parameters could be related to high-level expression of IL-4 and IL-10 induced by such components.