In six patients with well-documented lymphohistiocytosis syndrome, natural killer activity was found to be profoundly impaired and could not be increased by incubation in vitro with interferon. This abnormality was not found in parents of the affected children. A clear correlation with the activity of the disease was observed, although a delay of a few weeks (possibly reflecting the life span of NK cells in blood) was seen in the disappearance of NK activity after the onset of the disease and its reappearance after remission. No absolute correlation was observed between NK activity and percentage of leukocytes detected by the Leu-7 monoclonal antibody. Our findings indicate that testing NK activity is useful for the diagnosis of lymphohistiocytosis syndrome and can be used as an index of activity of the disease, among other major clinical and biologic signs of this syndrome. Reversal of the NK activity defect (rather than detection of Leu-7 positive cells) appears to be a good criterion of complete remission.