The systemic immune response is a dynamic process involving the trafficking of lymphocytes from the Ag-stimulated lymph node to the peripheral tissue. Studies in sheep have demonstrated several phases of cell output in the efferent lymph after Ag stimulation. When skin contact sensitizers are used as Ag, the efferent lymph cell output peaks approximately 96 h after Ag stimulation and is temporally associated with the recruitment of cells into the skin. To investigate the relative contribution of this high-output phase of efferent lymphocytes to lymphocytic inflammation in the skin, we used a common contact sensitizer 2-phenyl-4-ethoxymethylene-5-oxazolone (oxazolone) to stimulate the skin and draining prescapular lymph node of adult sheep. The efferent lymph ducts draining the Ag-stimulated and contralateral control lymph nodes were cannulated throughout the experimental period. The lymphocytes leaving the lymph nodes during the 72-h period before maximum infiltration were differentially labeled with fluorescent tracers, reinjected into the arterial circulation, and tracked to the site of Ag stimulation. Quantitative tissue cytometry of the skin at the conclusion of the injection period (96 h after Ag stimulation) demonstrated more migratory cells derived from the Ag-stimulated lymph node than the contralateral control (median 18.5 vs 15.5 per field; p < 0.05). However, when corrected for total cell output of the lymph node, the Ag-stimulated migratory cells were 3.8-fold more prevalent in the skin than the contralateral control cells. These results suggest that the in situ immune response generally mirrors the frequency of recruitable lymphocytes in the peripheral blood.