The JHM strain of mouse hepatitis virus (JHMV) elicits an I-A-restricted delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) response mediated by a Thy-1+, Lyt-1+, and CD4+ T cell. Adoptive transfer of these polyclonal CD4+ T cells from immunized mice prevents death in lethally infected recipients without significantly reducing virus titer in the central nervous system (CNS). These observations raise the possibility that the recruitment of mononuclear cells into the CNS may play a critical role in survival from a lethal CNS infection. Transient DTH response to nonviral antigens induced an accumulation of monocytes in the CNS that was maximal at 48 h post-challenge and virtually resolved by 5 days post-challenge. By contrast the induction of prolonged DTH responses resulted in the accumulation of a large number of monocytes that persisted in the CNS for at least 5 days post-challenge. Neither type of DTH reaction suppressed virus replication or prevented death from concomitant lethal JHMV infection.