Recent transplantation experiments using perforin-deficient mice as allograft recipients have challenged the concept that allograft rejection is mediated exclusively by CTL. We sought to determine if human noncytolytic lymphocytes could mediate rejection of allogeneic human skin grafts in the huPBL-SCID mouse model of rejection. We generated short term lines of human lymphocytes from peripheral blood mononuclear cells using PHA as a mitogen. The first group was stimulated with PHA alone, the second with PHA plus IL-4 and neutralizing antibody to IL-12, and in the third group PBL were depleted of B cells and monocytes before stimulation as in group 2. After two passages, lines were tested for cytolytic ability and IFN-gamma production. Each line was injected i.p. to mice bearing allogeneic skin grafts. The grafts were harvested between day 16 and 21 after PBL injection, then the histology was scored by a blinded observer for degree of infiltration, microvessel injury, induction of epidermal MHC class II, and perforin expression. In vitro we found that PBL in groups 2 and 3 were unable to lyse cultured endothelial cells in a lectin-directed 111In release assay. In vivo 80% of the IL-4/anti-IL-12 groups maintained the IFN-gamma-low phenotype, and no perforin was detected in these grafts. Nevertheless, human microvessel injury was similar between the two groups. This was not antibody-dependent since the B-cell-depleted group showed similar injury. Moreover adjacent murine vessels were intact. We interpret these observations to show (1) these human PBL lines maintained their phenotype following in vivo restimulation, and (2) noncytolytic graft-infiltrating lymphocytes specifically promote injury of allogeneic human microvessels.