The Fas ligand (FasL) is expressed in activated T cells and induces apoptosis in Fas-bearing cells. A cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) clone specific for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) causes an acute liver disease in HBsAg transgenic mice. Here we observed that the CTL clone killed hepatocytes expressing HBsAg in a Fas-dependent manner. Administration of the soluble form of Fas into HBsAg transgenic mice prevented the CTL-induced liver disease. In the second model, mice were primed with Propionibacterium acnes. A subsequent challenge with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) killed the mice by inducing liver injury. Neutralization of FasL rescued the mice from LPS-induced mortality, and Fas-null mice were resistant to LPS-induced mortality. These results suggest that FasL has an essential role in the development of hepatitis.