In SIV/HIV infection, the gastrointestinal tissue dominates as an important site because of the impact of massive mucosal CD4 depletion and immune activation-induced tissue pathology. Unlike AIDS-susceptible rhesus macaques, natural hosts do not progress to AIDS and resolve immune activation earlier. Here, we examine the role of dendritic cells (DCs) in mediating immune activation and disease progression. We demonstrate that plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs) in the blood up-regulate β7-integrin and are rapidly recruited to the colorectum after a pathogenic SIV infection in rhesus macaques. These pDCs were capable of producing proinflammatory cytokines and primed a T cytotoxic 1 response in vitro. Consistent with the up-regulation of β7-integrin on pDCs, in vivo blockade of α4β7-integrin dampened pDC recruitment to the colorectum and resulted in reduced immune activation. The up-regulation of β7-integrin expression on pDCs in the blood also was observed in HIV-infected humans but not in chronically SIV-infected sooty mangabeys that show low levels of immune activation. Our results uncover a new mechanism by which pDCs influence immune activation in colorectal tissue after pathogenic immunodeficiency virus infections.