Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) is a T cell-mediated autoimmune demyelinating disease of the central nervous system that serves as an animal model for multiple sclerosis. Antigen-specific tolerance regimens, including oral tolerance, have been used prophylactically to prevent development of acute EAE as well as a number of other autoimmune diseases. Two mechanisms have been proposed to explain the immunologic basis for disease inhibition: bystander immune suppression and clonal anergy/deletion. This report demonstrates a novel mechanism for monocyte chemotactic protein (MCP)-1 as a regulatory factor of oral tolerance. Oral administration of proteolipid protein peptide (PLP139–151) increased MCP-1 expression in the intestinal mucosa, Peyer's patch, and mesenteric lymph nodes. Increase in MCP-1 expression resulted in downregulation of mucosal interleukin (IL)-12 expression with concomitant increase in mucosal IL-4 expression. Functionally, MCP-1 upregulation was shown to regulate oral tolerance induction by the ability of antibodies to MCP-1 to inhibit tolerance induction. The anti-MCP-1 abrogation of oral tolerance induction also resulted in restoration of mucosal IL-12 expression as well as peripheral antigen-specific T helper cell 1 responses. These results demonstrate a novel and important role for MCP-1 in the regulation or oral tolerance for the prevention and treatment of autoimmune disease.