Recent evidence indicates that death of uninfected lymphocytes by apoptosis plays an important role in the immunopathogenesis of HIV infection. We have previously demonstrated that CD4 cross-linking (CD4XL) performed in PBMC results in induction of T cell apoptosis in an accessory cell-dependent manner. In this study, we have investigated the roles of Fas interaction with its ligand (FasL) and of accessory cells in the CD4XL model of T cell apoptosis mediated by the anti-CD4 mAb Leu3a- or HIV-1 envelope protein g120. Here, we provide evidence that CD4XL-induced CD4+ T cell apoptosis is Fas-FasL interaction dependent and that monocytes play a critical role in inducing T cell apoptosis. We show that CD4XL-induced T cell apoptosis is blocked by the addition of soluble Fas or by anti-FasL mAb NOK-1; depletion of monocytes from PBMC, but not of CD19+ cells or CD8+ cells, abrogates CD4XL-induced T cell apoptosis. Conversely, addition of monocytes to purified CD4+ T cells augments CD4XL-induced apoptosis. In purified monocytes, CD4XL results in FasL expression; in purified CD4+ T cells, however, CD4XL upregulates Fas but not FasL expression. These findings underscore the important role of monocytes in HIV disease pathogenesis and firmly support the notion of CD4XL as a potent mechanism for inducing bystander cell death.