The purpose of this study was to determine the role of L3T4+, Ly2- T cells in the development of allospecific cytolytic T cells in response to purified allogeneic MHC class I+, class II-hepatocytes in vivo in hepatocyte-sponge matrix allografts (HC-SMA). In previous studies we have shown that 99% pure murine hepatocytes stimulate the development of allospecific cytolytic T cells in vitro in mixed lymphocyte-hepatocyte culture (MLHC) and in vivo in HC-SMA. Furthermore, depletion of L3T4+, Ly2- T cells from responder splenocytes inhibits the development of allo-CTLs in response to purified hepatocytes in mixed lymphocyte-hepatocyte culture. Here, using an anti-L3T4 monoclonal antibody, we tested the effect of in vivo immunodepletion of L3T4+, Ly2- T cells on the subsequent development of allo-CTLs in HC-SMA. Sponge cells were harvested on day 4 and day 12 after grafting from control and treated groups and phenotypically analyzed by FACS and immunoflu-orescent labelling. Splenocytes from the same animals were similarly analyzed to assess for completeness of immunodepletion. Allospecific cytotoxicity was assessed on day 12 after grafting. We found that immunotherapy with anti-L3T4 mAb was effective in depleting L3T4+, Ly2- T cells from the spleen; however, a similar number of L3T4+ cells was isolated from the sponge between control and treated groups. Furthermore, the development of allo-CTLs in response to hepatocytes in HC-SMA was completely abrogated by both local and systemic immunotherapy with anti-L3T4 mAb. We conclude from these and previous data that host or responder L3T4+, Ly2- T cells and responder accessory cells in MLHC or host macrophages in HC-SMA may participate in “indirect” recognition of hepatocyte class I antigen both in vitro and in vivo.