Murine splenic lymphoid cells are stimulated to proliferate following mild oxidation with sodium periodate. To assess the class of cells responding, we used periodate treatment alone or in association with concanavalin A, a T-cell mitogen, or lipopolysaccharide (LPS), primarily a B-cell mitogen. Brief periodate treatment followed by culturing with concanavalin A gave no additive proliferative response to that seen using concanavalin A alone, while culturing periodate-treated cells with LPS gave approximately an additive response. Furthermore, periodate failed to stimulate spleen cells from neonatally thymectomized mice while LPS produced significant stimulation of proliferation, suggesting that periodate is stimulating a class of T lymphoid cells or a subpopulation of T cells. Studies were performed to determine an optimal concentration of borohydride which would suppress proliferation in lymphoid cells initially oxidized with periodate. It was observed that 2 mM borohydride would suppress proliferation of oxidized cells yet permit a normal response of these cells to another T-cell mitogen, concanavalin A. Higher concentrations of borohydride, from 3 to 5 mM, would also suppress proliferation of oxidized cells but would interfere with the ability of these cells to respond to concanavalin A, perhaps due to cell damage. Studies were performed to determine when it was possible to suppress periodate-induced mitogenesis by reducing with borohydride at various times after the initial oxidation. It was observed that 2 mM borohydride treatment could suppress stimulation through 8 hr after the original periodate oxidation and that from 12 hr through 20 hr after the initial periodate oxidation, borohydride was incapable of inhibiting proliferation. Additional studies demonstrate that optimal mitogenesis induced by periodate or concanavalin A is contingent upon a serum factor.