The NOD mouse, which shows many features of human IDDM, is extensively used to evaluate the role of T lymphocytes in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diabetes. The development of diabetes in this model appears to be controlled by a finely tuned immunoregulatory balance between autoaggressive T cells and regulatory immune phenomena, the disruption of which may result in destruction of insulin-secreting cells. The absolute requirement of sublethal irradiation to permit transfer of the disease to non-diabetic adult syngeneic mice provides indirect evidence for the presence of regulatory T cells in non-diabetic NOD mice. We have previously reported that the reconstitution of irradiated recipients by CD4 + T cells from nondiabetic female NOD mice blocks the transfer of diabetes by spleen cells from diabetic donors. We now report evidence that anti-CD4 monoclonal antibodies can substitute for irradiation in rendering adult NOD male mice susceptible to diabetes transfer by diabetogenic spleen cells. Efficient diabetes transfer can be achieved in non-irradiated adult NOD recipients provided they are thymectomized and CD4 + T-cell depleted prior to the transfer. The role of thymectomy is to limit T cell regeneration after anti-T cell monoclonal antibody challenge. Our data confirm that regulatory CD4 + T-cells, which efficiently counterbalance diabetogenic cells, are present in adult NOD male animals.