Recombinant rat gamma-interferon was administered to Lewis rats by continuous intravenous infusion. After a 3-day administration period, at various dosages, a constant pattern of class II major histocompatibility complex (MHC) antigen induction was found in the brains and cerebella. Immunohistological double staining for class II antigens and glial fibrillary acidic protein showed that the majority of newly induced cells were microglia. The endothelium of large blood vessels and ependymal cells also expressed class II antigens. These findings demonstrate that systemically raised interferon levels can affect MHC antigen expression in the brain. Astrocytes are obviously not the primary cell type to acquire class II reactivity, and thus potential antigen-presenting capacity, in this situation.