Abstract The adjuvants SGP (a starch-acrylamide polymer) and Quil A (purified saponin) were shown to markedly augment antibody responses to T-independent (TI) antigens, suggesting that their adjuvant effects may be at least partially mediated through B cells. The ability of both adjuvants to augment primary responses to trinitrophenyl (TNP)-Ficoll (TI-2 antigen) in athymic nude mice further suggested these adjuvants affect B cells. SGP, however, did not induce a response to the T-dependent (TD) antigen dinitrophenyl-keyhole limpet hemocyanin (DNP-KLH) in athymic nude mice, indicating it was unable to replace the requirement for T-helper cells for responses to TD antigens. Responses to TNP-lipopolysaccharide (LPS) were augmented by SGP in CBA/N X Balb/c immune defective (xid) mice. However, SGP was unable to induce a response to TNP-Ficoll in xid mice. The SGP and Quil A augmented responses to TNP-Ficoll were completely inhibited by the mitotic inhibitor, Velban, indicating that SGP and Quil A increased the plaque-forming cell (PFC) response primarily by stimulating cell proliferation, and not by recruitment of antigen-reactive cells. The effects of the adjuvants on secondary responses were investigated using adoptive transfer experiments. SGP and Al(OH) 3 both increased the induction of haptenspecific memory B cells in mice primed with DNP-KLH. SGP, Quil A, and Al(OH) 3 also increased priming of carrier specific T cells. Priming of memory B cells with DNP-KLH and either Al(OH) 3 or SGP was prevented when T cells were depleted with anti-lymphocyte serum (ALS) at the time of antigen priming, indicating that the augmentation of memory B-cell priming by SGP and Al(OH) 3 was dependent on the presence of functional T cells. SGP and Quil A were both unable to augment memory cell induction to the TI antigen, TNP-Ficoll, even though both adjuvants markedly augmented primary IgM and IgG responses to this antigen. Based on these results, it is suggested that SGP and Quil A can mediate their adjuvant effects primarily by a direct or indirect effect on B cells although the adjuvants may also affect T cells to some extent.