Vitamin A (VA) deficiency compromises antibody responses to T-cell-dependent antigens such as tetanus toxoid, but this effect can be reversed through administration of retinol or retinoic acid (RA). To test whether RA and polyriboinosinioc : polyribocytidylic acid (PIC), a known inducer of several forms of interferon (IFN), can cooperate to increase specific immunoglobulin (Ig)G and IgM production during VA deficiency, rats and mice were made VA-deficient, immunized with TT and treated with all-trans-RA, PIC or their combination. VA-deficient rats produced low primary and secondary anti-tetanus IgG responses (VA-deficient controls v. VA-sufficient controls P < 0·001), although total IgG was slightly elevated when compared with VA-sufficient control rats. Although RA administered alone elevated antibody production during VA deficiency to control levels, RA combined with PIC synergistically enhanced these responses (RA and PIC group v. all other groups P < 0·0001). In contrast, Balb/c mice maintained on a VA-deficient diet and immunized in a similar fashion showed no impairment in antigen-specific IgG levels, but treatment with a combination of RA and PIC still evoked an additive enhancement in antigen-specific antibody production. Additionally, RA and PIC administration to VA-sufficient mice resulted in elevated antibody responses, suggesting that this combination should be evaluated further for its immuno-stimulatory effects.