It has been found previously that peritoneal exposure to hematoporphyrin derivative (HpD) photodynamic therapy (PDT) can induce systemic immunosuppression of contact hypersensitivity. We have now found that HpD-PDT also significantly prolongs survival of murine skin allografts. Normal A/J mice transplanted with BALB/c skin rejected the grafts within 10±0.9 days. Recipient mice treated 24 hr previously with HpD-PDT rejected skin allografts at 16±1.2 days. HpD alone or irradiation alone had no effect on skin graft survival, nor did HpD-PDT administered shortly after grafting. Flow cytometric analyses showed a nearly complete depletion of peritoneal lymphocytes 3 days after HpD-PDT. Lymphocyte levels were normal in the spleen, an organ not directly targeted by the PDT treatment, but the cells were totally unresponsive to Con A and LPS mitogens. Conversely, peritoneal HpD-PDT caused a striking enhancement in macrophage function as measured by phagocytosis of antibody-coated sheep erythrocytes. Humoral immunity to hen egg-white lysozyme was not significantly changed by HpD-PDT. These results demonstrate that HpD-PDT causes systemic immunosuppression of cellular immunity which, in turn, allows prolonged survival of allografts. Humoral immunity appears to remain largely unaffected by HpD-PDT and macrophages become activated, suggesting that this therapy might be more effective in specifically targeting T cell-mediated immunity than current immunosuppressive treatments.