CD47/integrin-associated protein has been extensively studied on various cell types. The function of CD47 on T cells, however, remained poorly understood. We demonstrate here that our CD47 mAb 1/1A4 has both inhibitory as well as costimulatory effects in terms of T cell activation. Soluble, not cross-linked, CD47 mAb 1/1A4 blocks allogeneic MLRs. This effect is predominantly observed with suboptimal numbers of stimulator cells. In contrast, cross-linking of CD47 in the presence of CD28 mAb or phorbol ester induces vigorous T cell proliferation that is sensitive to cyclosporin A. Cross-linking, but not immobilization, of the CD47 mAb 1/1A4 is an essential requirement for the CD28- or phorbol ester-dependent induction of T cell mitogenesis. Furthermore, CD47 mAb 1/1A4 induces T cell proliferation when coimmobilized with a CD3 mAb to the same surface. Ligation with cross-linked 1/1A4 mAb induces an increase in intracellular free calcium levels and leads to tyrosine phosphorylation of various cellular proteins and, in the presence of suboptimal concentrations of plate-bound CD3 mAb, to enhanced IL-2 promotor activity in T cells. Furthermore, we present evidence that upon cross-linking of CD47 with mAb 1/1A4, purified T cells acquire responsiveness for several T cell growth factors. IL-1beta and/or IL-6 dramatically augment this CD47-induced cytokine responsiveness. Our results suggest that the novel activation pathway via CD47 might be critically involved in Ag-dependent and Ag-independent T cell functions.