Lipoproteins were isolated from adult plasma and the umbilical cord blood plasma of newborn infants and were compared for their capacity to inhibit mitogen-stimulated [3H]thymidine uptake of adult peripheral blood mononuclear cells in vitro. Relative to the comparable adult lipoproteins, cord blood low density lipoproteins and high density lipoproteins inhibited mitogen stimulation at twofold to fourfold lower total protein concentrations. Apoproteins AI, B, and E were quantitated by radioimmunoassay of each of the adult and cord blood lipoprotein fractions. A strong correlation was observed between inhibitory activity and the amount of apoprotein E in the cord blood low and high density lipoproteins. Further evidence that lipoproteins containing apoprotein E accounted for the difference in suppressive activity of cord blood low and high density lipoproteins relative to the adult lipoproteins was obtained by selective removal of the apoprotein E-containing lipoproteins by using immunoaffinity chromatography or heparin-agarose adsorption. The results indicated that cord blood lipoproteins containing apoprotein E in association with apoproteins AI or B are capable of suppressing lymphocyte proliferation in vitro.