Endotoxin (lipopolysaccharide [LPS]) tolerance is an altered state of immunity caused by prior exposure to LPS, in which production of many cytokines, including gamma interferon (IFN-gamma) and interleukin-12 (IL-12), are reduced but secretion of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 is increased in response to a subsequent LPS challenge. This pattern of cytokine production is also characteristic of postinflammatory immunosuppression. Therefore, we hypothesized that LPS-primed mice would exhibit an impaired ability to respond to systemic infection with the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. We further hypothesized that depletion of IL-10 would reverse the endotoxin-tolerant state. To test this hypothesis, systemic clearance of Pseudomonas aeruginosa was measured for LPS-primed wild-type and IL-10-deficient mice. LPS-primed wild-type mice exhibited significant suppression of LPS-induced IFN-gamma and IL-12 but increased IL-10 production in blood and spleen compared to levels exhibited by saline-primed wild-type mice. The suppressed production of IFN-gamma and IL-12 caused by LPS priming was ablated in the spleens, but not blood, of IL-10 knockout mice. LPS-primed wild-type mice cleared Pseudomonas aeruginosa from lungs and blood more effectively than saline-primed mice. LPS-primed IL-10-deficient mice were particularly efficient in clearing Pseudomonas aeruginosa after systemic challenge. These studies show that induction of LPS tolerance enhanced systemic clearance of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and that this effect was augmented by neutralization of IL-10.