The effects of LPS on macrophages in vitro have been examined. LPS triggers macrophages to produce LAF and PGE2 in vitro. LPS is also cytotoxic for macrophages derived from LPS-sensitive mice and will significantly inhibit their phagocytic ability. Both LAF production and cytotoxicity are due to the direct effects of LPS on the macrophage and do not require the participation of lymphocytes. Each of these functions is abnormal in C3H/HeJ mice. The nature of the gene(s) controlling these macrophage responses to LPS has been determined. The response of (C3H/HeJ × C3H/HeN)F1 macrophages was intermediate when compared to the parental responses and no sex linkage was found. Backcross linkage analysis suggested that the same autosomal codominant gene controls both macrophage and B lymphocyte-LPS sensitivity.