The requirements for T cell/B cell interaction for the induction of primary in vitro antibody responses to phosphorylcholine (PC)-keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH) were examined. Long-term helper T cell lines derived from KLH-primed (CBA/N X BALB/c) F1 female mice (H-2k/d) were able to support a T15-idiotype dominant, IgM anti-PC response of BALB/c (H-2d) B cells and macrophages, but could not activate PC-specific responses by BALB.B (H-2b) B cells, even in the presence of irradiated H-2k/d antigen-presenting cells. Polyclonal IgM secretion in the same cultures did not appear to depend upon a major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-restricted T-B interaction. Since IgM anti-PC responses seem to be entirely derived from the Lyb5+ B cell subpopulation, we conclude that at least some Lyb5+ B cells can only be activated by MHC-restricted T-B interactions. We also found that xid B cells from (CBA/N X BALB/c) F1 male mice could be polyclonally activated by helper T cell lines by an apparently MHC-unrestricted interaction. Our data thus suggests that residence in the Lyb5- or Lyb5+ B cell subset does not determine the T:B interaction requirements for antibody synthesis.