Signal transducers and activators of transcription (STATs) are critical intracellular signaling molecules for many cytokines. We compared the ability of T84 epithelial cells to activate STATs in response to cytokines [interferon-γ (IFN-γ), interleukin (IL)-4, IL-10, and tumor necrosis factor-α (10 ng/ml)] and conditioned medium from superantigen [ Staphylococcus aureus enterotoxin B (SEB)]-activated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) using electrophoretic mobility shift assays (EMSA). Of the cytokines tested, only IFN-γ caused a STAT-1 response. Exposure to SEB-PBMC-conditioned medium resulted in STAT-1 or STAT-1/3 activation, and inclusion of anti-IFN-γ antibodies in the conditioned medium abolished the STAT-1 signal. Cells treated with transcription factor decoys, DNA oligonucleotides bearing the STAT-1 recognition motif, and then SEB-PBMC-conditioned medium displayed a reduced STAT-1 signal on EMSA, yet this treatment did not prevent the drop in transepithelial resistance (measured in Ussing chambers) caused by SEB-PBMC-conditioned medium. In contrast, the phosphatidylinositol 3′-kinase (PI 3-K) inhibitor LY-294002 significantly reduced the drop in transepithelial resistance caused by SEB-PBMC-conditioned medium. Thus data are presented showing STAT-1 (±STAT-3) and PI 3-K activation in epithelial cells in response to immune mediators released by superantigen immune activation. Although the involvement of STAT-1/-3 in the control of barrier function remains a possibility, PI-3K has been identified as a regulator of T84 paracellular permeability.