We have analyzed the expression of the zeta chain of the T cell receptor/CD3 complex and the co-stimulatory molecule CD28 by dual colour immunofluorescence on T lymphocytes from patients with B cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Zeta chain was significantly reduced on CD3-positive lymphocytes from 33 patients compared with normal controls (P<0.0001). The values were lower in stages B and C than in stage A. In five patients tested in partial remission the values were normal. CD28, investigated in CD3, CD4 and CD8 positive T cells from 18 CLL patients appeared to be reduced in the three subsets but more marked in CD8-positive lymphocytes. The loss of zeta chain and CD28 in a proportion of circulating T lymphocytes from CLL may underlie some of the known functional abnormalities of these cells and the immunodeficiency associated with the disease.