Understanding the molecular mechanisms of pulmonary lymphocyte recruitment is a crucial step toward selective control of immune lung diseases and infections in immunocompromised hosts. To dissect these mechanisms, we are studying the response induced in primed C57BL/6 mice by intratracheal challenge with the T cell-dependent antigen, sheep red blood cells (SRBC). This study used four-parameter flow cytometry to examine expression by CD4+ murine T cells in peripheral blood and lungs of receptors known to be differentially expressed on primed human lymphocytes (CD2, CD11a, CD44, CD45RB, CD49d, and L-selectin). Compared with peripheral blood, more lung CD4+ T cells recovered by bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) showed a primed phenotype. Judged by low expression of CD45RB or L-selectin, 76 to 90% of BAL CD4+ T cells were primed at all times. Adhesion receptor phenotype of CD4+ T cells in BAL and lung interstitium agreed closely, although BAL contained a greater percentage of primed cells. The percentage of CD4+ T cells with high expression of CD44+ and CD49d increased late in the response. However, when considering only upregulated adhesion receptors which might mediate recruitment, 22 to 52% of CD4+ T cells in BAL did not have increased adhesion receptor expression. Longer duration between priming and challenge did not increase adhesion receptor upregulation. High adhesion receptor expression was least evident during the periods of maximal lymphocyte influx, suggesting that factors other than increased surface density of organ-nonspecific adhesion receptors contribute to lymphocyte recruitment during pulmonary immune responses.