Apoptotic cells, e.g. postinflammatory neutrophils, were reported to be engulfed by phagocytes without induction of an inflammatory response. We investigated the humoral immune response of BALB/c mice after repeated injection of viable or apoptotic human T cells. Following interleukin-2(IL-2) deprivation, phytohaemagglutinin (PHA)/IL-2 expanded human T-cell lines were irradiated with UV-B light to induce apoptosis, confirmed by propidium iodide staining of Triton X-100-lysed cells. Indirect immunofluorescence was used to detect antilymphocyte antibodies 7 days after each injection. We found high levels of antilymphocyte antibodies in all animals immunized with viable T cells, whereas animals injected with apoptotic cells showed a significantly reduced humoral immune response. We conclude that apoptotic cells induce poor xenoreactive T-cell responses when compared with viable cells.