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Lymphocytes from healthy volunteers seropositive for cytomegalovirus (CMV) demonstrated strong lymphoproliferative responses to CMV-infected and glutaraldehyde-fixed foreskin fibroblasts (CMVFFx) when cocultured for 6 days. Addition of the immunosuppressive drug cyclosporine (CsA) to the cultures resulted in a 10-fold reduction (P less than 0.001) in counts per minute of [3H]thymidine uptake. The proliferative response to noninfected fixed fibroblasts was also reduced 10-fold. Kinetic studies showed an inhibition of the lymphoproliferative response and not an alteration in the time course kinetics in CsA-treated cultures. Cytotoxicity to CMV-infected and unfixed fibroblasts by lymphocytes primed by CMVFFx in the presence of 0.5 micrograms of CsA per ml was significantly reduced (P less than 0.01) as compared with untreated cultures but remained significantly above background level (P less than 0.01). The cytotoxic response was still present but reduced at concentrations of greater than or equal to 1.0 micrograms/ml. Cytotoxicity to noninfected fibroblasts by CMVFFx-primed lymphocytes could be eliminated by as little as 0.5 micrograms of CsA per ml. Stimulation of lymphocytes by CMVFFx but not by noninfected fixed fibroblasts resulted in the in vitro generation of suppressor cells. CsA at a final concentration of 1.0 or 2.5 micrograms/ml did not significantly impair the induction of cells capable of suppressing the lymphoproliferative response of fresh autologous mononuclear cells to CMVFFx. The findings described above may have important clinical implications in that a degree of protective immunity to CMV-infected cells is maintained even in the presence of CsA.