Infection of mice with Trypanosoma cruzi and subsequent intraperitoneal challenge with heat-killed trypanosomes elicits peritoneal macrophages which display in vitro microbicidal activity against trypomastigotes of T. cruzi. These cells also display other activated properties including rapid spreading, intense membrane activity, secretion of high levels of plasminogen activator, and ingestion mediated by the C3 receptor. An intravenous infection with BCG, followed by an intraperitoneal challenge with mycobacterial antigens brings about macrophages with similar properties. These criteria of macrophage activation were compared in normal and BCG- or T. cruzi-immune mice, with or without an intraperitoneal challenge with specific or unrelated antigens. Trypanocidal activity is displayed by both BCG- and T. cruzi-immune macrophages after intraperitoneal challenge with either antigen. Resident-immune macrophages from both T. cruzi- and BCG-infected mice show a trypanostatic, rather than trypanocidal activity. Macrophages from noninfected mice, challenged with the same antigens, show neither trypanostatic nor trypanocidal activity. Increased secretion of plasminogen activator shows a definite immunological specificity. Challenge with the specific antigen induces the appearance of macrophages secreting high levels of plasminogen activator, while unrelated antigens induce much smaller levels. Noninfected mice challenged with the same antigens do not display any enchancement in secretion. In contrast, increased spreading and phagocytosis mediated by the complement receptor are also displayed by cells from noninfected mice challenged with any of the agents tested.