Retinoid treatment is suggested to promote development of inflammatory bowel disease, although preclinical studies are not supportive. We evaluated the effect of retinoids on cytokine response in in vitro-differentiated human dendritic cells (ivDCs) and macrophages (ivMACs) derived from healthy human donors and in cultured human THP-1 cells. Effect on human intestinal epithelial cell integrity was also assessed. Each cell type was incubated (±lipopolysaccharide [LPS]) with all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA), 13-cis-RA (isotretinoin) and 4-oxo-13-cis-RA. Cytokine analysis was performed by array analysis. Cultured human endothelial colorectal adenocarcinoma (Caco-2) cells were incubated with these retinoids and media analyzed for leakage by spectrofluorometric analysis. ATRA consistently and significantly inhibited LPS-induced release of the pro-inflammatory cytokines tumor necrosis factor, interleukin (IL)-6, macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-1α and MIP-1β. All retinoids tested stimulated release of the anti-inflammatory cytokines granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor and IL-10, and also monocyte chemotactic protein-1, vascular endothelial growth factor and eotaxin-1. Incubation with retinoids did not significantly alter the permeability of Caco-2 monolayers. Pre-treatment of each cell type with retinoids promoted an anti-inflammatory cytokine profile with only minimal effect on intestinal epithelial cell permeability; consistent with in vivo studies.