Ultraviolet irradiation (uvR) has been demonstrated to have profound effects on many functions of the immune system. In particular, exposure to this physical agent can alter the tissue distribution and function of a number of immunologically active cell types, even at sites remote from direct uvR exposure. The present investigation demonstrates that uvR exposure of mice induces an efferent blockade of lymphocyte egress from the peripheral lymph nodes which drain the irradiated skin, resulting in marked retention of lymphocytes. In vivo studies of this efferent blockade established that the condition appeared similar in mechanism to that induced by the administration of poly-inosinic:poly-citidylic acid, murine interferon alpha/beta and specific antigen. We were able to establish that a common mechanism in the genesis of an efferent lymphatic blockade may involve prostaglandin biosynthesis. The potential contribution of efferent blockade to the development of systemic suppression of contact hypersensitivity induced by uvR exposure is discussed.