We examined the therapeutic effect of heat-killed Lactobacillus casei (LC) on MRL/lpr mice. Ingestion of a diet containing 0.05% (w/w) LC from the weaning period prolonged the lifespan and tended to reduce the proportion of B220+ T cells in the spleen and mesenteric lymph nodes (MLN) of MRL/lpr mice. When LC was intraperitoneally injected once a week after the age of 8 weeks, I-A- macrophages accumulated in the spleen as well as the peritoneum and macrophage progenitors increased in the bone marrow. Moreover, the amount of IL-6 mRNA in peritoneal macrophages was reduced by LC injection. Splenocytes from LC-injected MRL/lpr mice exhibited lower proliferative responses to mitogens than those from control MRL/lpr mice and the increase in number of B220+ T cells in the spleen and MLN was prevented by LC injection. However, LC injection affected neither expression of interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) and IL-4 mRNAs nor proliferative capacities of splenic T cells. Our findings demonstrate that LC injection accelerates macrophage recruitment and prevents the expansion of B220+ T cells without affecting the functions of T cells in MRL/lpr mice. These immunological modulations induced by LC may lead to prolongation of the lifespan of MRL/lpr mice.