Stimulation of the APC by Porphyromonas gingivalis LPS has been shown to result in the production of certain pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines. However, the signaling pathways that regulate these processes are currently unknown. In the present study, the role of the phosphatidylinositol 3 kinase (PI3K)-Akt pathway in regulating P. gingivalis LPS-induced production of IL-10, IL-12 p40, and IL-12 p70 by human monocytes was investigated. P. gingivalis LPS selectively activates the PI3K-Akt pathway via Toll-like receptor 2, and inhibition of this pathway results in an abrogation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 phosphorylation, whereas the activation of p38 and c-Jun N-terminal kinase 1/2 kinases were unaffected. Analysis of cytokine production following stimulation of monocytes with P. gingivalis LPS revealed that inhibition of the PI3K pathway differentially regulated IL-10 and IL-12 synthesis. IL-10 production was suppressed, whereas IL-12 levels were enhanced. Inhibition of P. gingivalis LPS-mediated activation of the PI3K-Akt pathway resulted in a pronounced augmentation of NF-kappaB p65 that was independent of IkappaB-alpha degradation. Furthermore, the ability of the PI3K-Akt pathway to modulate IL-10 and IL-12 production appears to be mediated by the selective suppression of extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 activity, as the MEK1 inhibitor PD98059 closely mimicked the effects of wortmannin and LY294002 to differentially regulate IL-10 and IL-12 production by P. gingivalis LPS-stimulated monocytes. These studies provide new insight into how engagement of the PI3K-Akt pathway by P. gingivalis LPS affects the induction of key immunoregulatory cytokines that control both qualitative and quantitative aspects of innate and adaptive immunity.