This study was undertaken to characterize and compare T lymphocyte function from the vigorous and modulated liver granulomas of Schistosoma mansoni-infected mice. Although both types of lesion contained equal percentages of T lymphocytes, the T cell subset distribution was different. For vigorous lesions, the ratio of helper/effector to suppressor/cytotoxic T cells was 2 to 3:1. For modulated lesions the ratio was lower (1:1). Differences in the phenotypic profiles of vigorous and modulated granuloma (Gr) T cells were reflected in their functional activity. Vigorous Gr T cells were more active in lymphoproliferation, IL-2 production, and granuloma formation than those from modulated lesions. Moreover, modulated Gr T cells suppressed the functional activity of vigorous Gr T cells in a dose-dependent manner. The selective depletion of T cell subsets showed that phenotypically, the Gr delayed-hypersensitivity T cell is L3T4+, Lyt-1+ whereas the Gr Ts cell is an Lyt-2+ lymphocyte. Both of these T cell subsets are present in vigorous and modulated lesions. During acute infection, delayed-hypersensitivity T cell lymphocyte functions predominate, whereas Ts lymphocyte functions appear to prevail during chronic infection.