The involvement of the human CD4 molecule in T cell alloresponses to transfected HLA-DQ and -DR Ag was investigated with antibodies to defined CD4 epitopes. Anti-CD4 reagents inhibited T cell proliferation in a dose-dependent manner, and affected responses to HLA-DQ and -DR products equally well. As previously observed for conventional alloresponses, saturating concentrations of CD4 antibodies were required (and sufficient) for substantial blocking of T cell responses to transfected HLA-DQ and -DR products, and antibodies to a wide range of CD4 epitopes were inhibitory. In contrast to these results on class II-dependent T cell proliferation, MHC-independent T cell activation (via CD3 antibodies) was largely resistant to inhibition with the same dose range of CD4 mAb (provided that CD3 and CD4 reagents could not compete for the same class of FcR). This observation validates our conclusion that despite the substantial sequence differences between HLA-DQ and -DR heterodimers, the participation of CD4 epitopes in T cell responses to these molecules is conserved.