Human T cell helper/inducer clones were used to induce IgE synthesis in B cells from both allergic and nonallergic donors. An alloreactive T cell clone, activated by recognition of specific HLA-DR antigens, stimulated peripheral blood B cells from both allergic and nonallergic donors to synthesize IgE antibody. B cells of allergic donors differed from those of nonallergic donors in their requirements for induction of IgE synthesis. Induction of IgE synthesis in B cells from nonallergic individuals occurred only under conditions of cognate interaction, in which the B cells expressed the alloantigen recognized by the T cells. In contrast, IgE synthesis in B cells from allergic donors occurred under conditions of cognate interaction with T cells as well as bystander conditions where the B cells did not express the alloantigen recognized by the T cell clones and where the T cell clones were stimulated by third-party monocytes bearing the relevant alloantigens. Furthermore, bystander stimulation of IgE synthesis in allergic donors occurred in the presence of tetanus toxoid (TT) antigen-specific T cell clones activated by the appropriate TT-pulsed monocytes. In contrast to the differing requirements of B cells from normal vs. allergic subjects for the induction of IgE synthesis, these B cells did not differ in their requirements for the induction of IgG synthesis. IgG synthesis was induced in all B cells under conditions of cognate interaction with the T cells as well as under conditions of bystander stimulation. These results suggest that cognate T-B cell interactions may be important in the development of IgE immune responses in the normal host.