Fixation of APC with 1-ethyl-3-(3-dimethylamino-propyl)carbodiimide (ECDI) eliminates their ability to stimulate proliferation of alloreactive T cells or the D10 T cell clone, although a partial response, IL-4 production, was measured. However, if APC were activated before fixation, they could be ECDI-fixed and retain the ability to induce T cell proliferation. IL-1, IL-4 or LPS were capable of activating APC in this way, whereas IFN-gamma was not. This activation step occurred in 6 h, required protein synthesis, and was distinct from increases in Ia or IL-1. This suggests resting APC lack structures that are essential for inducing T cell proliferation.