The requirements of CD8+ and CD4+ cells for islet graft rejection in combinations with different histoincompatibilities were investigated by in vivo administration of anti-Lyt-2.2 (CD8) mAb, anti-L3T4 (CD4) mAb, or both to recipient mice. In B10.AQR----B10.A (H-2K-incompatible) and B10.A(5R)----B10.A (H-2K- and IA-incompatible) combinations, administration of either anti-Lyt-2.2 (CD8) or anti-L3T4 (CD4) mAb completely blocked islet graft rejection, indicating that neither CD8+ cells nor CD4+ cells alone were capable of mediating rejection, and that collaboration of CD8+ cells and CD4+ cells was necessary. On the other hand, in the BALB/c----B6 (H-2- and non-H-2-incompatible) combination, administration of anti-Lyt-2.2 (CD8) or anti-L3T4 (CD4) mAb resulted in rejection of most of the grafts, although survival was prolonged significantly, and administration of both anti-Lyt-2.2 (CD8) and anti-L3T4 (CD4) mAb together completely blocked rejection. These results suggested that either CD8+ or CD4+ cells were capable of mediating rejection, but that rejection was maximal in the presence of both T cell subsets. Immunohistochemical analyses showed marked depletion of CD8+ cells and CD4+ cells in grafted islets as well as spleens when anti-Lyt-2.2 (CD8) and anti-L3T4 (CD4) mAb, respectively, were injected.