The systemic NK activity was studied both in untreated rats which acutely reject allogeneic heterotopic heart grafts and in cyclosporine-treated rats which tolerate their transplants. The trend and magnitude of changes in NK activity were similar at all time points for the two animal groups. Compared to naive rats, peak NK activity was noted 7-8 days after engraftment in untreated rats and 7-12 days after engraftment in cyclosporine-treated hosts. In both groups, NK activity returned to normal levels by 3 weeks. No evidence could be found for inactivation of NK cells or their precursors in vivo in ungrafted rats undergoing cyclosporine treatment alone. These data are consistent with prior studies and suggest that non-specific cytotoxic activity does not represent a crucial force contributing to acute rejection of vascularized organ grafts.