Costimulation by the CD28 ligand B7/BB1 plays an important role during T cell proliferation primarily by augmenting synthesis of IL-2 and other cytokines. Resting CD4+ T cells express CD28 but not CTLA-4 on their surface. Costimulation of T cells with ICAM-1 or VCAM-1 induced CTLA-4 expression and up-regulated CD28 expression. CD28 and CTLA-4 were independently distributed on the surface of activated T lymphoblasts. When co-immobilized with anti-TCR mAb both anti-CD28 and anti-CTLA-4 mAb augmented T cell proliferation. Although anti-CD28-mediated augmentation of T cell proliferation was stronger than that seen with anti-CTLA-4 mAb, together these two mAb caused supraadditive augmentation of T cell proliferation. The augmentation of the effects of anti-CD28 mAb by anti-CTLA-4 mAb was greater at low occupancy of CD28 by anti-CD28 mAb. Costimulation of CD28+ CTLA-4+ T cells with anti-CTLA-4 caused three- to fivefold increase in IL-2 production, whereas similar treatment with anti-CD28 caused > 40-fold increase. The costimulatory effect of B7 on primed T cells was partially inhibited by Fab anti-CD28 mAb. Anti-CTLA-4 mAb alone did not inhibit B7-induced response but caused modest increase in the inhibitory effect of anti-CD28 Fab. On integrin-mediated costimulation, Ag-specific CD4+ T cell lines also up-regulated their CTLA-4 expression, and proliferation of these cells was augmented by anti-CTLA-4 mAb. Unlike that of CD28, ligation of CTLA-4 alone failed to mobilize intracellular [Ca2+]. However, coligation of CTLA-4 and TCR induced stronger [Ca2+] response in Ag-specific T cell lines than that seen with TCR alone. These results suggest that integrin-costimulated T cells express CTLA-4 and can be costimulated via CTLA-4. Optimal development of various immune functions may involve combined costimulation via both CD28 and CTLA-4.