A semi-purified fraction obtained from P388 D1 cell line conditioned medium (P388 D1 CM) which contains Interleukin-1 (IL-1) and Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor (GM-CSF) stimulates murine thymocyte proliferation both in the absence and the presence of a suboptimal dose of phytohemagglutinin (PHA). Because this effect on thymocyte proliferation is always larger than that obtained with optimal concentrations of pure IL-1, we have investigated the possible involvement of GM-CSF in this semi-purified fraction mediated-thymocyte proliferation. We here show that the maximal level of thymocyte proliferation induced by the semi-purified fraction is comparable to that obtained by the co-addition of recombinant GM-CSF and IL-1. In addition, although GM-CSF alone induces no significant thymocyte proliferation, the presence of an anti-GM-CSF antiserum partially blocks the thymocyte proliferation induced by the semi-purified fraction. Thus, the capacity of the semi-purified fraction of P388 D1 to stimulate thymocyte proliferation appears to result from a synergistic action between GM-CSF and IL-1.