The outcome of Plasmodium yoelii 17XL-infected BALB/c and DBA/2 mice, ranging from death to spontaneous cure, respectively, depends largely on the establishment of effective pro-inflammatory type 1 responses during the early stages of infection and associates with CD4+CD25+Foxp3+regulatory T cells (Tregs). Here, effects of Tregs were analysed on early P. yoelii 17XL infection in BALB/c and DBA/2 mice. In vivo depletion of Tregs significantly reversed the inhibited establishment of effective pro-inflammatory type 1 responses in BALB/c mice, indicating that this cell population contributed to the suppression of T-cell function in malaria. Moreover, the proportion and absolute numbers of IL-10-secreting Tregs in BALB/c mice were significantly higher than that found in DBA/2 mice by intracytoplasmic staining, and IL-10 production was correlated with the Tregs population. In addition, in vivo Tregs depletion decreased the production of IL-10 and the apoptosis of CD4+ T cells. Consistently, IL-10R blockade also had the same effect as that of Tregs depletion in P. yoelii 17XL-infected BALB/c mice. Our data demonstrate that Tregs perhaps have an important role in regulating pro-inflammatory type 1 responses in an IL-10-dependent manner and induce CD4+ T cell apoptosis during the early stage of P. yoelii 17XL infection.