The effects of adherent cell depletion, indomethacin, and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) on murine LAK cell activity were investigated. Removal of plastic adherent cells from splenocyte suspensions either prior to 5-day culture with 1000 U/ml of recombinant human IL-2 (rIL-2) or prior to assay resulted in an enhanced LAK cell cytotoxicity compared to that of whole spleen cell suspensions. Indomethacin enhanced LAK cell cytotoxicity of whole splenocyte suspensions if present during the culture period, but had no effect on whole splenocyte or adherent cell-depleted cell suspensions if added just prior to assay. PGE2 suppressed LAK cell activity of nonadherent splenocyte but not whole splenocyte suspensions when present during the culture period. In vivo treatment of mice with indomethacin enhanced cytotoxicity directed toward both LAK sensitive, natural killer (NK) resistant (P-815) and LAK, NK sensitive (YAC-1) tumor cell targets. Splenocytes from indomethacin-treated mice cultured with additional indomethacin and rIL-2 exhibited highest LAK cell activity. The results from this study indicate that LAK cells are regulated by adherent cells which suppress LAK cell activity. This suppression can be reversed both in vitro and in vivo by indomethacin. This study has important implications for the possible clinical use of indomethacin in the potentiation of in vivo and in vitro LAK cell activity for immunotherapeutic protocols.