The primary MLR of the rat was used to generate suppressor, cytotoxic, and helper T cells from lymph node cells of the WF (RT1 mu) inbred strain. They were assayed in 51Cr-release cytotoxic assays and by their effect on proliferation of fresh unprimed responder cells. Suppression by MLR cellular products was antigen-specific and generation and functional expression were directed to class II (RT1.B,D) antigens of stimulator cells in the strains tested. In contrast, help was not antigen-specific. The monoclonal antibodies OX8 and W3/25 were used to separate the primed products of the MLR into the constitutive subsets, suppressor/cytotoxic (OX8+) and helper/inducer (W3/25+). Gamma irradiation of OX8+ MLR-primed cells caused modest reductions in suppressive activity, but had no effect on the helper activity of W3/25+ cells. MLR-derived suppressor cells are effective only when added in the early stages of the test primary MLR, whereas helper cells can augment proliferation even when added late. Feedback suppression is not mediated by classical cytotoxic T cells, because of differences in kinetics of development, cell numbers required, susceptibility to freezing, and expression of the RT6 differentiation antigen.