CD4+ T cells are subdivided into Th1 and Th2 cells. Their relative presence or activation is thought to have a regulatory effect on immune behaviour. Until recently, the relative suppression of Th1 cells by the relative increase of Th2 activities, was thought to be a main mechanism of keeping or restoring the balance in a diseased immune system. Nowadays, however, a specialised subset of regulatory T cells is held to be responsible for the main effects of securing a balanced immune system. It is possible that heat shock proteins (hsps) are relevant antigens driving such regulation. Heat shock proteins are known to be immunodominant antigens of bacteria. They are evolutionarily strongly conserved proteins present in all eukaryotic and prokaryotic cellular organisms and are upregulated by several forms of stress. Despite (the paradigm of) self tolerance, hsp-epitopes homologous to endogenous host hsp sequences have been implicated as T cell epitopes to endow cross reactive, hsp specific T cells with the capacity to regulate inflammation, such as in experimentally induced autoimmune diseases. Such T cells were found to produce regulatory cytokines like IL10, in contrast with T cells induced with other conserved microbial proteins that are not upregulated by stress. Hsps have been implicated in immune regulation not only as upregulated targets of adaptive immunity during inflammatory stress, but recently also as triggering factors for innate immunity through activation via Toll-like receptors (TLRs).