We investigated the effects of rufloxacin, a new, long acting fluoroquinolone, on the growth and differentiation of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (MNC) stimulated with T- and B-cell mitogenic agents. Rufloxacin inhibited 3H-thymidine incorporation into MNC stimulated with phytohaemagglutinin (PHA) and pokeweed mitogen (PWM) in a dose-dependent manner. The concentrations of rufloxacin required to inhibit 1/2 maximal proliferation of T- and B-cells were 62 and 33.5 mg/L respectively. Rufloxacin, at clinically achievable serum levels (less than 10 mg/L), was found not to inhibit PHA-induced T-cell differentiation as assessed by IL-2 production, IL-2 receptor expression and the expression of cell differentiation markers (CD4 and CD8). However, higher concentrations of rufloxacin (10 and 50 mg/L) markedly inhibited B-cell differentiation in-vitro as determined by the measurement of immunoglobulin production by MNC stimulated with PWM. The clinical relevance of our in-vitro findings remains to be elucidated.