A panel of antigen-specific mouse helper T cell clones was characterized according to patterns of lymphokine activity production, and two types of T cell were distinguished. Type 1 T helper cells (TH1) produced IL 2, interferon-gamma, GM-CSF, and IL 3 in response to antigen + presenting cells or to Con A, whereas type 2 helper T cells (TH2) produced IL 3, BSF1, and two other activities unique to the TH2 subset, a mast cell growth factor distinct from IL 3 and a T cell growth factor distinct from IL 2. Clones representing each type of T cell were characterized, and the pattern of lymphokine activities was consistent within each set. The secreted proteins induced by Con A were analyzed by biosynthetic labeling and SDS gel electrophoresis, and significant differences were seen between the two groups of T cell line. Both types of T cell grew in response to alternating cycles of antigen stimulation, followed by growth in IL 2-containing medium. Examples of both types of T cell were also specific for or restricted by the I region of the MHC, and the surface marker phenotype of the majority of both types was Ly-1+, Lyt-2-, L3T4+, Both types of helper T cell could provide help for B cells, but the nature of the help differed. TH1 cells were found among examples of T cell clones specific for chicken RBC and mouse alloantigens. TH2 cells were found among clones specific for mouse alloantigens, fowl gamma-globulin, and KLH. The relationship between these two types of T cells and previously described subsets of T helper cells is discussed.