Following activation in vitro, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) express cell-associated interleukin-2 receptors (IL2R). The present study was undertaken to define the proportion of T lymphocyte subsets that express the IL2R (CD25 antigen) upon different mitogenic stimulation. Double immunofluorescence staining with different fluorochromes, fluorescein isothiocyanate and phycoethyrin, was applied for identification of IL2R positive cells and individual lymphocyte subset. The exact percentage of individual activated lymphocyte subset bearing IL2R was enumerated by photographic counting. There was paucity of IL2R in freshly isolated, unstimulated peripheral blood, PBMC cultured without mitogen, and cultured B lymphocytes. Following pokeweed mitogen stimulation in vitro, 19% of CD4 (T-helper/inducer) lymphocytes and 14% of CD8 (T-suppressor/cytotoxic) lymphocytes expressed IL2R. Similarly, 25% of CD4 lymphocytes and 19% of CD8 lymphocytes expressed IL2R following phytohemagglutinin stimulation in vitro. Contrary to the reported data of Tac-positive cells in human lymphoid tissues, our study revealed that, upon lectin mitogen stimulation, approximately 55% of IL2R positive PBMC were CD4 lymphocytes, and 45% of them were CD8 lymphocytes. These observations imply the plausible notion that interleukin-2 mediated immune activation of T lymphocytes in PBMC is different from that in local lymphoid organs. It was also demonstrated that the release of soluble IL2R (sIL2R) and IL2 production in supernatant from cultured PBMC varied with different lectin stimulation. A significant correlation was demonstrated between the cellular and soluble IL2R but the production of IL2 from activated mononuclear cells bore no good correlation with either the cellular IL2R expression or the release of sIL2R.