Both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells express either CD45RA or CD45R0 isoform of CD45R in an exclusive way. Recent reports have shown that CD45RA+ T cells lose CD45RA and gain CD45R0 upon activation. This switching has been suggested to be irreversible although more recently, examples of reversal of CD45R isotype switching in CD4+ T cells have been reported. We report here that freshly isolated unprimed CD8+ T cells, when activated with PHA, temporarily lose CD45RA but reexpress an intermediate level of CD45RA 2-3 weeks after activation with PHA. This reversal seems to take place much more slowly in unprimed CD4+ T cells: the majority of CD4+ T cells that had lost CD45RA and gained CD45R0 remained CD45RA-CD45R0+ in 3 weeks after the stimulation. Also, long-term CD8+ CD45RA+ T cell lines stimulated with PHA or OKT3 showed even more rapid recovery of CD45RA while PPD-specific CD4+ T cell clones retained the original CD45R0 phenotype 3 weeks after stimulation with PPD or PHA.