The lymph node is a specialized microenvironment for the regulation of immune responses. The reticular network of the lymph node provides a structure that facilitates not only intercellular interactions, but the intranodal flow of lymph fluid. To assess biochemical changes in the nodal lymph plasma after antigen stimulation, prescapular lymph nodes in sheep were stimulated with the epicutaneous antigen oxazolone. The efferent lymph from both antigen-stimulated and contralateral control prescapular lymph nodes was continuously monitored for more than 120 h. The oxazolone-stimulated lymph plasma was associated with a selective increase in cholesterol content during the 'recruitment' phase of lymph node enlargement. The peak in cholesterol was followed closely by a significant increase in lymph plasma LDH concentration. In contrast, there was no significant difference between oxazolone-stimulated and control lymph plasma in the concentration of triglycerides, albumin, alkaline phosphatase, and alanine transferase. These selective biochemical changes in the efferent lymph appeared to reflect the dynamics of lymphocyte activation within the lymph node as well as provide a practical measure of the lymph node response to antigen stimulation.