The labelling of interleukin-2 (IL-2) with 123I and its in vivo application for imaging chronic pathological lymphocytic infiltrations are described. The lactoperoxidase/glucoseoxidase technique was the labelling method of choice leading to immunoreactive IL-2 with high specific activity. Labelled IL-2 was injected in diabetes-prone non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice with pancreatic lymphocytic infiltration. As control animals, Balb/c mice were used. As specificity control, monoclonal antibodies AMT13 and UCHT1, bovine serum albumin and alpha-lactalbumin were radioiodinated and injected in mice. Eighteen NOD mice and four control Balb/c mice were used for gamma camera imaging experiments. Fifty-four NOD and 20 Balb/c mice were used for time course single organ counting and autoradiography. Gamma camera images showed that radioactivity accumulated in the pancreatic region from the 10th minute onwards in NOD mice injected with 123I-IL-2 but not in Balb/c mice, or in NOD mice injected with control radiopharmaceuticals. These findings were confirmed by counting the radioactivity present in single organs. Autoradiography of NOD pancreas, after injection of labelled IL-2, showed that radioactivity was specifically associated with infiltrating lymphocytes. In conclusion, this technique is highly specific and easy to perform and we suggest its application in humans for in vivo detection of areas of lymphocytic infiltration.