CD160 is an Ig-like glycoprotein expressed on NK, NKT and TCRgammadelta T cells, as well as intestinal intraepithelial T lymphocytes. In addition, a minor subset of CD8(+) but not CD4(+) T cells in the periphery is also known to express CD160, but the subset has not been fully characterized. In this study, we prepared anti-murine CD160 mAbs and investigated the expression profile of CD160 on various subsets of CD8(+) T cells. The amount of CD160 on almost all CD8(+) T cells was increased upon CD3-mediated stimulation in vitro, and soluble CD160 was found to be released. Flow cytometric analysis revealed most CD8(+) T cells expressing CD160 to show a CD44(high) phenotype in vivo. On further analysis, both CD44(high)CD62L(low) effector memory T cells (T(EM)) and CD44(high)CD62L(high) central memory T cells (T(CM)) expressed CD160 at an intermediate level. High levels were evident with recently activated CD8(+) T(EM). Naïve CD8(+) T cells presumably immediately after stimulation (CD44(low)CD62L(low)CD69(+)) also expressed CD160, but only at a low level. Purified CD160(+) CD8(+) T cells from OT-1 transgenic mice expressing TCR against OVA residues 257-264 presented by H-2K(b) produced IFN-gamma more rapidly than CD160(-) CD8(+) T cells upon antigen stimulation. These results together show that CD160 is expressed on the majority of CD8(+) memory T cells as well as recently activated CD8(+) T cells.