The immune tolerance induced by the liver as an allograft is difficult to reconcile with the evidence that the liver selectively accumulates activated T cells from the circulation. However, much of this information is based on murine liver lymphocytes that were isolated using enzymatic digestion. In the present study we made use of a novel resource, the lymphocytes isolated during the perfusion of living donor liver lobe prior to transplantation. These healthy human liver lymphocytes displayed surface markers indicating a high degree of activation of natural killer cells, CD56(+) T cells, CD4(+) T cells and CD8(+) T cells. These properties were independent of enzymatic treatment or the details of cell isolation. We conclude that the healthy human liver is a site of intense immunological activity.