Abstract Paracoccidioidomycosis is a deep endemic mycosis associated with an antigen-specific immunodeficiency. To examine the role of apoptosis in this immunodeficiency, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) of patients with paracoccidioidomycosis and controls were stimulated with the main antigen of Paracoccidioides brasiliensis (gp43) and an unrelated fungal antigen (from Candida albicans, CMA) and analyzed for annexin V and propidium iodide staining by flow cytometry. Control PBMC proliferated well with both antigens. Patients' PBMC proliferated only with CMA, but presented higher levels of apoptosis with gp43 and CMA than in their own unstimulated cultures. Moreover, gp43-triggered apoptosis in control PBMC was lower than in those of the patients. Thus, patient but not control gp43-stimulated T cells apparently remained anergized and subsequently underwent apoptosis. While CMA-induced apoptosis is likely triggered by activation-induced cell death, this is apparently not the case in gp43-induced apoptosis because of the lack of cell cycling and IL-2 in the gp43-stimulated cultures. However, higher IL-10 levels were found in gp43-stimulated patient PBMC cultures. Addition of a neutralizing anti-IL-10 antibody to the cultures resulted in increased apoptosis levels only in gp43-stimulated patient PBMC cultures. Our results suggest that apoptosis plays a role in the patients' antigen-specific hyporesponsiveness and that IL-10 may have an antiapoptotic role.