Exposure of mice to ultraviolet radiation (UV) followed by alloantigcn sensitization can suppress the immune response to that alloantigen. In order to assess the applicability of using UV-induced immunosuppression in organ transplantation, the effectiveness of UV in prolonging the survival of vascularized organ allografts must be determined. Because, for technical reasons, rats are better suited than mice for such experiments, we first wanted to determine whether UV suppresses the immune response of inbred rats to alloantigens. The data presented here demonstrate that exposure of rats to UV (115–129 kJ/m2) prior to alloantigenic sensitization decreases the mixed lymphocyte response to alloantigen. The depression of the proliferative response to alloantigen was selective in that spleen cells from the UV-treated rats could respond to mitogenic stimulation. In contrast to previous results with mice, suppressor cells could not be demonstrated in the spleens of the UV-treated rats. In addition, UV treatment after sensitization inhibited the response to alloantigen. These data suggest that treatment of the recipient with UV before or after alloantigenic sensitization may provide a novel method of inhibiting immune responses to allogeneic antigens.