Abstract This paper shows that peritoneal murine macrophages become preactivated in vivo during the course of a Schistosoma mansoni infection. Thus, less macrophage-activating factor (MAF) was required to induce in vitro tumoricidal and schistosomulicidal activity in macrophages from S. mansoni-infected mice than in macrophages from uninfected control animals. Moreover, the respiratory burst activity, as measured by chemiluminescence, was enhanced in macrophages from S. mansoni-infected mice as compared to controls, whether or not lymphokine (LK) was present in the macrophage cultures. This response appeared at 3 weeks and persisted at least until 12 weeks after infection. Interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) is most likely involved in the mechanisms leading to such an increased cytolytic and oxidative activity, since in vitro experiments showed: 1) that less (IFN-γ) was required to induce tumoricidal activity in macrophages from infected as compared to macrophages from uninfected animals, 2) that the activity of (2'-5')-adenylate synthetase (2'-5'A-synthetase), an enzyme strongly induced by IFN, was elevated in cells from livers of S. mansoni-infected mice.