T cells from TCR transgenic mice, expressing receptors specific for an allogeneic MHC class I peptide, were used to track T cell activation and migration in normal adoptive recipients that were subsequently transplanted with heterotopic hearts that were syngeneic except for a transgenic MHC class I antigen. T cells rapidly disappeared from the blood into the lymphoid tissues where they were activated within one day after transplantation. T cells initially formed discrete clusters in the spleen and lymph nodes. After proliferating for 2-4 days in lymphoid tissues, T cells reappeared in the blood and migrated to the heart and the intestines. The T cells underwent another round of proliferation in the heart, but not the intestines, and induced cardiac rejection uniformly on 6 day. © 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.