The immune responses of cattle inoculated with either a virulent or an attenuated vaccine strain of rinderpest virus (RPV) were examined by measuring the proliferation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) to whole RPV antigen preparations and to individual RPV major structural proteins expressed using recombinant adenoviruses. Responses to the T cell mitogen concanavalin A (ConA) were also measured as a control to monitor non-specific effects of infection with RPV on T cell responses. Infection with the vaccine strain of RPV was found to induce a strong CD4(+) T cell response. A specific response was detected to all RPV proteins tested, namely the haemagglutinin (H), fusion (F), nucleocapsid (N) and matrix (M) proteins, in animals vaccinated with the attenuated strain of the virus. No one protein was found to be dominant with respect to the induction of T cell proliferative responses. As expected, vaccination of cattle with an unrelated virus vaccine, a capripox vaccine, failed to produce a response to RPV antigens. While profound suppression of T cell responses was observed following infection with the virulent strain of RPV, no evidence of impairment of T cell responsiveness was observed following RPV vaccination, or on subsequent challenge of vaccinated animals with virulent virus.