Our previous studies demonstrated that adoptive transfer of dendritic cells (DC) prevents diabetes in young nonobese diabetic (NOD) mice by inducing regulatory T(H)2 cells. In this report, as a means of treating NOD mice with more advanced insulitis, we infected DC with adenoviral vectors expressing interleukin (IL)-4 (Ad.IL-4), eGFP (Ad.eGFP), or empty vector (Ad psi 5). DC infected with any of the Ad vectors expressed higher levels of CD40, CD80, and CD86 molecules than uninfected DC and Ad.IL-4 DC produced IL-4 after lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and interferon (IFN)-gamma stimulation. Ad-infected DC efficiently stimulated allogeneic T cells, and cultures of T cells with Ad.IL-4 DC produced lower levels of IFN-gamma and marginally higher levels of IL-4. In vivo studies demonstrated that the Ad.eGFP DC trafficked to the pancreatic lymph nodes within 24 hr of intravenous administration, and could be visualized in the T cell areas of the spleen. The intrapancreatic IFN-gamma:IL-4 or IFN-gamma:IL-10 cytokine ratios were lower in 10-week-old mice treated with Ad.IL-4 DC, and these mice were significantly protected from disease. These results demonstrate, for the first time, that genetically modified DC can prevent diabetes in the context of advanced insulitis.