To dissect the controversial roles of type 1 and type 2 cytokines to the pathogenesis of schistosomiasis, we generated IL-10/IL-4- and IL-10/IL-12- deficient mice that develop highly polarized type 1 and type 2 cytokine responses, respectively. Interestingly, the Th1-polarized IL-10/IL-4- deficient mice rapidly lost weight at the onset of egg-laying and displayed 100% mortality by wk 9 postinfection. This acute mortality was linked to overexpression of the proinflammatory mediators IFN-γ, TNF-α, and inducible NO and the formation of nonfibrotic granulomas. Elevated serum aspartate transaminase levels confirmed that mortality was in part attributable to acute hepatotoxicity. In contrast, the Th2-polarized IL-10/IL-12-deficient mice developed a progressive wasting disease that correlated with increased hepatic fibrosis, formation of large eosinophil-rich granulomas, a 10-fold increase in IL-4 and IL-13, and significant mortality during the chronic stages of infection. Surprisingly, IL-10-deficient mice displayed pathological features that were characteristic of both extremes, while wild- type mice developed relatively successful long term chronic infections. These data demonstrate that IL-10 significantly suppresses type 1 and type 2 cytokine development in IL-4- and IL-12-deficient mice, respectively, thereby impeding the development of severe egg-induced pathology in the single cytokine-deficient animals. Together, these findings reveal the central regulatory role of IL-10 in the pathogenesis of schistosomiasis and illustrate that excessive type 1 and type 2 cytokine responses trigger distinct, but equally detrimental, forms of pathology following infection.