Bacterial carbohydrates have long been considered T cell-independent antigens that primarily induce humoral immune responses. Recently, it has been demonstrated that bacterial capsules that possess a zwitterionic charge motif can activate CD4(+) T cells after processing and presentation by antigen-presenting cells. Here we show that these zwitterionic polysaccharides can prevent T helper 1-mediated fibrosis by signaling for the release of IL-10 from CD4(+) T cells in vivo. IL-10 production by these T cells and their ability to prevent fibrosis is controlled by the inducible costimulator (ICOS)-ICOS ligand pathway. These data demonstrate that the interaction of the zwitterionic polysaccharides with T cells results in modulation of surgical fibrosis in vivo and suggest a previously undescribed approach to "harnessing" T cell function to prevent inflammatory tissue disorders in humans.