Cell-mediated immunity to Cryptococcus neoformans can be detected by delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) to a culture filtrate antigen of C. neoformans. Recently, we have identified a population of cells in spleens of mice immunized with cryptococcal antigen that, when transferred to recipient mice at the time of immunization, amplifies the anticryptococcal DTH response. If the cell donor mice are treated with cyclosporin A during induction of the anticryptococcal DTH response, the amplifier cells are not induced, whereas the cells which transfer DTH (TDH cells) are induced. The purpose of this study was to characterize the amplifier cells with respect to their surface and functional properties and, in so doing, determine whether or not the amplifier cells are analogous to long-lived memory cells. We demonstrated that the amplifier cells were nylon-wool-nonadherent, antigen-specific, CD4 (L3T4+ Lyt-2-) T lymphocytes which appear in the spleens of mice 5 days postimmunization with cryptococcal culture filtrate antigen in complete Freund adjuvant. The amplifier T (Tamp) cells are not considered to be memory cells because they are relatively short-lived, being present 14 but not 18 days after the stimulating immunization. Moreover, the amplified anticryptococcal DTH response does not fulfill the criteria of the typical secondary immune (anamnestic) response in that the amplified response does not appear early relative to the appearance of the primary anticryptococcal DTH response, and it does not persist longer than the primary DTH response. We speculate that Tamp cells are not long-lived memory cells but rather act in a T-helper cell capacity to amplify the anticryptococcal DTH response.