This paper deals with a comparative study of lymphocyte apoptosis in young versus aged and humans versus rats. Apoptotic rate achieved by the use of different apoptogenic inducers, acting at different cellular levels, and cell surface modifications were analyzed. The results showed that aged human lymphocytes and freshly isolated rat lymphocytes were more prone to undergo apoptosis. Therefore, the same apoptotic signal is recognized by human and rat lymphocytes, but the extent of the answer is related to the species, to the intensity of the apoptotic stimulus and to the metabolic/developmental condition of the cells. Surface modifications (lipids and glycans), typical of apoptosis, were observed. Our data showed that cell surface changes are species and age dependent. They are early events, progressively achieved in the course of the apoptotic process involving lateral membrane movements of molecules.