Spleen cells from mice homozygous for the obese (ob) mutation killed DBA/2 mastocytoma target cells less well than spleen cells from lean littermates or unrelated age-and sex-matched controls of the same strain. Killing was impaired only when the attacker cells were primed in vivo, not following in vitro priming. Hence the effect of the ob/ob genotype is not to produce an irreversible functional change in the lymphocyte, but rather to produce an environment in which lymphocytes are less able to react to priming antigen. Not only were the spleen cells of in vivo primed obese mice less active than those of lean controls, but also their number per spleen was significantly decreased. Such a quantitive difference was no longer found in adrenalectomised animals, but the qualitative difference in spleen cell cytotoxic activity still occurred. This suggests that adrenocortical hyperfunction may affect immune function in obese mice, without necessarily being the only factor in the in vivo environment of obese mouse spleen cells capable of depressing cellular immune reactivity.