Naturally arising IgM antibodies, which recognize neo-determinants on apoptotic cell (AC) membranes, are present from birth and can be further induced by AC challenge. Such naturally arising IgM antibodies can suppress proinflammatory responses to purified agonists for Toll-like receptors (TLRs), as well as block the induction of IgG immune complex-induced in vitro and in vivo pathogenic responses. To investigate the responsible mechanisms, we studied the regulatory effects of IgM anti-AC antibody on responses in bone marrow-derived dendritic cells mediated by a range of different TLRs and found that addition of IgM anti-AC inhibited the activation of the primary MAPKs: ERK1/2, JNK, and particularly p38. This was dependent on the recruitment of either C1q or mannose-binding lectin, which are both early complement factors that tag ACs for innate immune recognition. Strikingly, MAPK inhibition of responses to TLR agonists, and to lupus IgG autoantibody-chromatin immune complexes, was found to correlate with, and had an absolute requirement for, the induction and nuclear localization of MAPK phosphatase-1, a factor known to mediate glucocorticoid suppression of immune responses. Further experiments showed that natural IgM antibodies in serum exhibited the same inhibitory properties. These studies elucidate a novel homeostatic pathway by which natural antibodies, which are products of the adaptive immune system, can directly blunt inflammatory responses by recruitment and coordination of a primitive regulatory pathway of the innate immune system.