We investigated the influence of monocytes on the susceptibility of the T3 antigen on human T cells to modulation induction by OKT3 antibody. In the absence of monocytes, the T3 antigen was only minimally susceptible to modulation. After the addition of 20% monocytes to the culture, however, complete modulation was readily observed. Furthermore, we found that even in the absence of OKT3 antibody, monocytes were able to down-regulate the expression of the T3 antigen, although to a lesser extent. The ability of monocytes to enhance antigenic modulation proved to be a more general phenomenon. Each individual T cell antigen, however, differed in its susceptibility to modulation by antibody, monocytes, or both, thereby establishing its own characteristic pattern. In addition, after complete modulation of the T3 antigen, the addition of monocytes to the culture thereafter had a distinct inhibitory effect on the reexpression of the T3 antigen. Monocyte enhancement of T3 modulation is significantly reduced when using the OKT3 F(ab')2 fragment, as is OKT3 mitogenesis. After pulsing the monocytes with OKT3 antibody before adding them to the culture, T3 modulation became nearly complete even in the absence of added OKT3 antibody. Monocyte-induced modulation proved not to be MHC restricted, thus allowing for comparative analysis of this effect between monocytes and other cell types. A moderate, however, incomplete modulation enhancement was observed with the human monocyte cell line U937 and with Daudi cells. This finding proved to coincide with the distinct ability of these cell lines to bind OKT3 antibody by their Fc receptors, as was the case with monocytes. In contrast, neither Fc receptor binding nor T3 modulation enhancement was observed with the cell lines Cess and G7. In addition, no effective T3 modulation was observed with glutaraldehyde-fixed monocytes. The overall results seem to indicate that effective modulation of the T3 antigen by OKT3 antibody requires the active participation of Fc receptors on monocytes.