While T cell proliferation to antigen in the presence of antigen-presenting cells is well known to be readily inhibited by antibodies directed against Class II major histocompatibility complex (MHC) (Ia/HLA-DR) products, it has not been possible to inhibit proliferation by antibodies directed against the antigen. Because of the implications of these observations for targets of T cell recognition, this phenomenon was reinvestigated using human T cell clones, recognizing a small (24 amino acid) synthetic peptide (termed p20) derived from the influenza hemagglutinin-1 molecule. It was found that proliferation of clones to p20 was inhibited efficiently (less than 90%), using p20 as antigen, and rabbit anti-p20. Inhibition was possible either by coculturing p20 antigen and antibody to p20 with cloned T cells and antigen-presenting (E-) cells, or by pulsing antigen-presenting cells with antigen prior to a brief incubation with antibody before washing the E- cells and using them to stimulate cloned T cells. These results do not indicate why previous attempts had failed, but in view of the different techniques available now (cloned T cells, small synthetic polypeptides, and antibody raised against polypeptide) we investigated the influence of these parameters. It was found that, using cloned T cells, the form of the antigen was of importance, as antibody inhibition of the response to hemagglutinin or whole influenza A was much less apparent. These differences were interpreted as being due to greater access of anti-p20 to p20 than to hemagglutinin or influenza. If uncloned T cell lines were used, inhibition was also much harder to detect. This was interpreted as masking of inhibition of the response of some clones in the line by interleukin 2-induced recruitment.