MHC class II positive T cells found in areas of inflammation are believed to play an important pathogenetic role in autoimmunity. In experimental models , class II molecules have been shown to regulate adhesion between human T cells. It is, however, not known in detail how class II molecules are functionally linked to adhesion molecules. Some data suggest that beta2 integrin (CD11a/CD18) molecules play a role in class-II-induced homotypic adhesion in B cells, monocytes, and virus-transformed or neoplastic cell lines. We have previously obtained evidence that adhesion molecules other than beta2 integrins might play a role in class-II-mediated adhesion in T cells. To study further class-II-mediated adhesion in T cells, we have taken advantage of (allo)antigen-specific beta2-integrin-negative, CD4-positive T cell lines obtained from a leukocyte adhesion deficiency patient. We show that class II ligation induces homotypic adhesion in both beta2-integrin-positive and negative, CD4-positive T cell lines. Anti-CD18 monoclonal antibody (mAb) weakly inhibited the adhesion response in beta2-integrin-positive T cells and had no effect on beta2-integrin-negative T cells. In contrast, an anti-CD58 (LFA-3) mAb almost completely inhibited the adhesion response in beta2-integrin-negative T cells. Antibodies against the CD58 ligand, CD2, partly inhibited the adhesion response in beta2-integrin-negative T cells whereas antibodies against other adhesion molecules did not. The adhesion response in beta2-integrin-positive T cells was partly inhibited by antibodies against CD58 and CD2. Taken together, these data provide the first evidence that CD58 molecules are involved in class-II-induced homotypic adhesion between T cells.