Complement receptor II (CR2) also known as CD21 is the receptor for C3d on immune complexes. In humans it serves as a receptor for the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). CR2 is expressed on B cells and in low density in the T cell lineage. EBV can infect T cells and EBV-positive T lymphomas have been described. Although CR2 mRNA is readily detectable in T cells, the function of CR2 in human T lymphocytes remains elusive. Here we have analyzed the expression of CR2 in normal and activated T cells. PCR analyses and immunofluorescence/confocal microscopy of peripheral blood T cells and of activated T cells shows considerable reduction in CR2 mRNA and protein expression upon activation. The downregulation of CR2 expression may modulate life span or immunological reactivity of T cells and the susceptibility of cells to infection by lymphotropic viruses.