CD30 is a member of the tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-receptor superfamily, whose ligand (CD30L) has been identified on B cells, activated macrophages and a subset of activated T cells. We show here that infection in vitro with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) of CD4+ T-cell clones generated from HIV-seronegative individuals can enhance the expression of CD30, which often preceeds and is associated with the death of clonal T cells. Furthermore, cross-linking CD30 with an agonistic CD30-specific monoclonal antibody potentiated HIV replication induced by an insolubilized anti-CD3 antibody in T-cell lines generated from HIV-infected individuals. More importantly, paraformaldehyde-fixed CD8+ T-cell clones expressing CD30L enhanced HIV replication in anti-CD3-stimulated allogeneic or autologous HIV-infected CD4+ T-cell lines and such a potentiating effect was inhibited by an anti-CD30L antibody. The anti-CD30L antibody also exerted a suppressive effect on the spontaneous HIV replication occurring in lymph node cells, freshly derived from an HIV-seropositive patient showing CD30 expression in B cells and in a proportion of CD8+ T lymphocytes. Thus, CD30 triggering may play an important role in both HIV replication and the death of HIV-infected CD4+ T cells.