A cloned T-lymphocyte line, BDC-2.5, was derived from a nonobese diabetic (NOD) mouse and has been found to exhibit specificity for islet cell antigen in vitro and in vivo. This clone is a CD4+ T-lymphocyte that proliferates and makes lymphokine in response to islet cell antigen- and NOD antigen-presenting cells. In an in vivo transplantation system in which islet grafts were made in the presence or absence of the BDC-2.5 T-lymphocytes, it was found that incorporation of the islet-specific T-lymphocytes into the graft site resulted in complete destruction of the transplanted tissue. Similar grafts made with pituitary tissue were not affected by the T-lymphocyte clone. These results suggest that the islet-specific T-lymphocytes mediate islet destruction in a tissue-specific manner.