The influence of oestrogen on the lupus disease in MRL/l mice has been investigated. Adult, castrated male and female MRL/l mice were administered with s.c. injections of 3.2 micrograms of 17 beta-oestradiol twice a week. The results clearly demonstrate that a relatively small dose of oestrogen is a potent accelerator of the lupus disease in this mouse strain. Thus, administration of oestrogen accelerates glomerulonephritis, lymphoproliferation and mortality. Our results also indicate that oestrogen exerts a dual effect on the immune system of MRL/l mice by depression of antigen-specific and mitogen-induced T cell responses as well as enhancement of polyclonal B cell activation and autoantibody formation. In addition, even short-term administration of oestrogen in the preclinical phase of the disease resulted in long-lasting effects as evaluated by reduced longevity and aggravation of renal disease.