Legionella pneumophila is known to grow intracellularly in resident peritoneal macrophages of guinea pigs. The present study was done to determine what kinds of macrophage stimulants are able to activate guinea pig macrophages to inhibit intracellular growth of the organism. Peritoneal macrophages were harvested from healthy guinea pigs, from guinea pigs injected intraperitoneally with proteose peptone (PP) or thioglycolate medium, from guinea pigs injected intraperitoneally with live Mycobacterium bovis BCG or killed Propionibacterium acnes (Corynebacterium parvum), and from guinea pigs surviving infection with live L. pneumophila. After in vitro phagocytosis, the L. pneumophila CFU in each well were counted on charcoal-yeast extract agar plates. In the macrophages elicited by PP or thioglycolate medium, the organism grew as well as it did in resident macrophages. In BCG-activated and immune macrophages, growth was inhibited almost completely. In P. acnes-activated macrophages, the initial growth of L. pneumophila was inhibited to some extent, but its growth reached the same level as in the resident and PP-induced macrophages after 3 or 4 days of culture. In the lethal challenge experiments in vivo, the superior protection provided by BCG over P. acnes was ascertained and the importance of macrophages in resistance to L. pneumophila was confirmed. Difference of activation by BCG and P. acnes in relation to the inhibition of intracellular growth of L. pneumophila in guinea pig macrophages is discussed.