To investigate further the immunological properties of nucleic acids, the mitogenicity of a phosphorothioate oligonucleotide (S-oligo 1082) with antisense activity for herpes simplex virus was tested. This compound stimulated proliferation and antibody production by murine lymphocytes in in vitro cultures. Proliferation was dose-dependent and unaffected by T cell depletion. Furthermore, inclusion of a non-mitogenic DNA in the medium did not block stimulation. Since 1082 does not have homology to a known gene involved in lymphocyte activation, these observations suggest that S-oligo antisense compounds may display non-specific activating effects, at least on murine B cells.