Long-term H-2-heterozygous a----(a x b)F1 bone marrow (BM) chimeras prepared with supralethal irradiation (1,300 rad) are devoid of Ia+ host BM-derived antigen-presenting cells (APC), but show quite strong host Ia expression in germinal centers, probably on follicular dendritic cells (a class of nonhemopoietic stromal cells). To examine whether Ia expression on these non-BM-derived cells is capable of inducing post-thymic tolerance of T cells, thymectomized irradiated (a x b)F1 mice were reconstituted with parent alpha stem cells and then, 6 mo later, given parent alpha thymus grafts. As measured by primary mixed lymphocyte reactions and V beta expression, the CD4+ cells differentiating in the thymus-grafted mice showed no detectable tolerance to the H-2 (Ia) antigens of the host. To examine whether the thymus-grafted mice contained immunologically significant quantities of host Ia antigens, long-term alpha----(alpha x b)F1 chimeras were injected with normal strain alpha CD4+ cells; the donor cells were recovered from thoracic duct lymph of the chimeras and tested for host reactivity in vitro. The results showed that Ia expression in the chimeras was sufficient to cause selective trapping of a substantial proportion of host-Ia-reactive CD4+ cells soon after transfer and, at later stages, to induce strong priming. Tolerance was not seen. The data place constraints on the view that T cell recognition of antigen expressed on cells other than typical BM-derived APC leads to tolerance induction.