Asbestos fibres are known to depress the mitogenic stimuli of phytohaemagglutinin (PHA) to lymphocytes. We examined effects of asbestos (chrysotile) fibre on the proliferation of PHA-stimulated lymphocytes and the PHA binding activity of lymphocytes in vitro. The incorporation of 3H-thymidine and the expression of interleukin-2 receptor were depressed when the cells were exposed to 50 micrograms/ml of chrysotile fibre. The PHA binding activity of lymphocytes was significantly enhanced after chrysotile fibre exposure, as compared with non-exposed group. These results indicate that the depression of PHA stimuli with chrysotile fibre was not due to blocking of PHA binding to lymphocytes. The enhancement of PHA binding activity by chrysotile fibre was observed on CD8+ but not on CD4+ cells. It is possible, therefore, that treatment of peripheral blood mononuclear cells with chrysotile fibre induces increased reactivity of CD8+ cells with PHA, and that intensely activated CD8+ cells suppress proliferation of lymphocytes.