rIL-6/B cell stimulatory factor 2 was found to augment CTL generation from mature as well as immature human T cells stimulated with UV-treated allogeneic cells. rIL-6 also acted on peanut agglutinin-positive murine thymocytes and Lyt-2-positive splenic T cells to give rise to CTL. rIL-6 alone could not induce CTL generation, the presence of IL-2 during the early phase of culture period was found to be essential for the IL-6 activity in the induction of CTL. The effect of rIL-6 was not mediated by the induction of IL-2 inasmuch as rIL-6 did not augment IL-2 production in MLC and anti-IL-2 antibody could not neutralize IL-6 activity. rIL-6 augmented CTL generation even when added 72 h after the initiation of cultures. The enhancing activity of rIL-6 could be neutralized with anti-IL-6 antibodies even when added 72 h after the initiation of cultures. The present data indicate that IL-6 acts in the late phase of CTL generation.