Veiled cells have been prepared from bovine afferent lymph and their surface phenotype has been compared with that of blood monocytes using a panel of mAb that define bovine leukocyte Ag. It has been observed that the expression of CD1c and a putative bovine CD45R Ag is restricted within these populations to afferent lymph veiled cells (ALVC), whereas CD11b is expressed only on monocytes. The CD11a and CD11c specificities and an additional Ag defined by mAb 1LA24 (p 110/75) are expressed by both cell types, although CD11a and p110/75 are found only on subpopulations of ALVC. In a comparison of accessory function, we have found that ALVC are considerably superior to blood monocytes both as stimulators in mixed leukocyte cultures and as presenters of soluble Ag to primed T cells. This superiority appears to be associated with an increased capacity to form clusters with responding lymphocytes. In addition, we have established that the capacity of ALVC to present soluble Ag to Ag-specific T cell clones resides almost exclusively in a subpopulation defined by the phenotype p110/75+ CD11a-.