Humoral immunity in response to an octavalent O-polysaccharide-toxin A conjugate Pseudomonas aeruginosa vaccine is well studied, and a phase III clinical study in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients is currently ongoing. In contrast, little is known about cellular immunity induced by this vaccine. Fifteen healthy volunteers were immunized on days 1 and 60. Parameters of cellular immunity were studied before vaccination on day 1, and on day 74. Analyses included flow cytometry of whole blood and antigen-induced proliferation of and cytokine production by lymphocyte cultures. The effects of immunization on the composition of peripheral blood lymphocytes as determined by flow cytometry were minor. In contrast, after immunization a highly significant increase of proliferation in response to stimulation with detoxified toxin A was noted: the stimulation index rose from 1·4 on day 1 to 42·2 on day 74 (restimulation with 0·4 µg/ml; P = 0·003). Immunization led to significant production of interferon (IFN)-γ and tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α by antigen-stimulated lymphocytes. In contrast, no significant induction of interleukin (IL)-4 or IL-10 was observed. In conclusion, immunization of healthy volunteers led to activation of cellular immunity including strong antigen-specific proliferation and cytokine production. In CF patients priming of the cellular immune system towards a Th1-like pattern would be of potential advantage. Therefore, confirmatory analyses in immunized CF patients with and without chronic infection with P. aeruginosa are foreseen.