Guinea pigs were immunized subcutaneously with highly purified bovine retinal S antigen (SAg) in complete Freund's adjuvant and treated from day 0 with cyclosporin A (CsA; 25 mg/kg by mouth) or drug vehicle. Skin tests carried out at 7 and 13 days showed maximal reactions to SAg at 24 h; at 13 days, however, strong, early, 'Arthus'-like responses to SAg were also recorded. CsA profoundly reduced DTH skin reactions to SAg and PPD, and prevented vitreal inflammation assessed at 17 days and retinal damage. Lymphocytes from the draining lymph nodes but not spleens of immunized guinea pigs showed a proliferative response to SAg which was suppressed by CsA administration. Responses to PHA, Con A or LPS were not so affected. Immunohistochemical staining (alkaline phosphatase-anti-alkaline phosphatase; APAAP) of the eye with newly available monoclonal antibodies to guinea pig T lymphocytes revealed a predominantly T cytotoxic/suppressor cell (Tc/s) infiltrate of the choroid and retina. CsA administration did not affect choroidal infiltration of Tc/s cells but markedly inhibited Ia antigen expression.