In this investigation we have examined some of the cellular and molecular changes in efferent lymph that drains from an antigen-stimulated peripheral lymph node. Resting efferent lymph is characterized by a higher percentage of CD4+ cells and consequently, a higher CD4/CD8 ratio than peripheral blood. Following antigen stimulation of a cannulated peripheral lymph node in antigen-primed sheep, the percentage of CD4+ cells in efferent lymph increases above the resting level during days 1, 2 and 3 post antigen stimulation. This is followed on days, 3, 4, and 5 after antigen stimulation by an increase in the percentage of CD8+ cells above the resting level which occurs as the percentage of CD4+ cells returns to the resting level. These changes cause the CD4/CD8 ratio to first increase above the resting value during the CD4 phase and then decrease below the resting value during the CD8 phase. During the CD4 phase a lymphokine activity is present in cell-free lymph fluid. Lymph fluid collected at this time supports the proliferation of activated T cells. Supernatants generated from efferent cells collected at a similar time and cultured in vivo for 24 h without any further stimulation are capable of releasing this material. During the CD8 phase cells expressing functional interleukin(IL)2 receptors appear in lymph fluid. The data suggests a sequential exit of T cell subsets from an antigen-stimulated lymph node and that the appearance of IL2-like activity and IL2-responsive cells in efferent lymph fluid are temporally distinct events.