Interferon regulatory factor-1 (IRF-1) is a member of a family of transcription factors that regulate an array of genes involved in cell growth, differentiation, and death. Analysis of cytokine expression by stimulated CD4+ cells from IRF-1(-/-) and IRF-1(+/+) mice revealed that IRF-1 deficiency resulted in an elevated production of Th2-related cytokines and a compensatory decrease in the expression of naive cell- and Th1-related cytokines. The altered cytokine profiles of IRF-1(-/-) cells could be explained, in part, by a shift in the representation of subsets of CD4+ cells; IRF-1(-/-) mice exhibited a decreased percentage of naive cells (a major source of IL-2) but increased numbers of memory or effector cells (the source of Th2-related cytokines). We analyzed purified, phenotypically matched memory/effector cells from IRF-1(-/-) and IRF-1(+/+) mice and found that the increased Th2:Th1 cytokine ratio was still evident in the IRF-1(-/-) group, thus suggesting that IRF-1 is involved in the polarization of the cytokine repertoire in CD4+ cells. Our data indicate that IRF-1 plays an important role in the maintenance of CD4+ cell subset homeostasis and in the expression of cytokines by naive and memory/effector cells.