Splenic lymphocyte blastogenic responses to mitogens and antigens were compared in Schistosoma mansoni-infected C57BL/6 and CBA mice. At 1 and 2 weeks of infection, elevated responses to phytohemagglutinin (PHA) were noted in C57BL/6, but not in CBA cultures. During the same period, elevated responses to lipopolysaccharide were observed in cultures from CBA, but not from C57BL/6 mice. Responses to both mitogens were depressed in both strains later in infection. The magnitude of antigen-specific responses was greater in CBA than in C57BL/6 cultures. A cercarial extract (CE) induced significant suppressor cell activity in normal C57BL/6 cell cultures as assessed by inhibition of syngeneic cell responsiveness to PHA. CE did not induce suppressive activity in CBA cultures. CE-induced suppression was unaffected by adherent cell removal, but was sensitive to anti-Thy 1.2 plus complement treatment. CE also directly inhibited PHA-stimulated C57BL/6 cell cultures, but enhanced cultures of CBA mice. The significance of these findings is discussed in relation to the relative strain differences seen in antigen-specific lymphocyte proliferation and the levels of protection induced after immunization with irradiated cercariae.