The responsiveness to macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) of peritoneal exudate cells (PEC) from the LPS unresponsive C3H/HeJ and C57BL/10ScCR mice was assessed by the indirect agarose microdroplet macrophage migration inhibition assay. No migration inhibition with PEC from C3H/HeJ nor C57BL/10ScCR mice was detected, whereas PEC from both C3H/HeN and C57BL/10Sn mice were significantly inhibited by even a 1/32 dilution of MIF-containing supernatants. Responsiveness to MIF of C3H/HeJ PEC could, however, be induced. In vivo inoculations of Mycobacterium bovis, strain BCG, 7 days before in vitro assay rendered C3H/HeJ PEC responsive to MIF. The lack of responsiveness to MIF by C3H/HeJ PEC appeared related to some form of suppression, since a mixture of PEC from C3H/HeN mice with 10 to 15% PEC from C3H/HeJ mice resulted in undetectable migration inhibition at any MIF dilution. In contrast to the usual lack of responsiveness of their macrophage to MIF, C3H/HeJ mice were able to produce MIF in response to PPD as well as their counterpart C3H/HeN mice after BCG sensitization. These results demonstrate that macrophages from C3H/HeJ and C57BL/10ScCR mice are unable to be inhibited in their in vitro migration of MIF (possibly being directly or indirectly influenced by a suppressor cell), whereas lymphoid cells from at least one of these strains, the C3H/HeJ mice, can produce MIF in response to antigenic stimulation.