Objective - To develop and evaluate an in vivo model to study early events in the pathogenesis of acute porcine pleuropneumonia. Animals - Thirty-six 6-to 8-week-old pigs. Procedure - Pigs were inoculated intranasally or endotracheally with Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae; inoculation routes were compared by evaluation of clinical signs, gross and microscopic lung lesions, hematologic changes, serum zinc, iron, and haptoglobin concentrations, and inflammatory cytokines. Results - The 2 inoculation routes resulted in similar findings, although intranasal inoculation caused unilateral gross lung lesions, whereas endotracheal inoculation caused bilateral gross lesions. Clinical signs of disease were observed < 2 hours after endotracheal inoculation and 6 to 8 hours after intranasal inoculation. Total WBC counts did not differ significantly after inoculation by either inoculation route, although band neutrophils increased significantly. The earliest findings associated with A pleuropneumoniae inoculation, irrespective of route, were decreased serum zinc and iron concentrations. Serum haptoglobin concentrations were significantly increased after inoculation. Inoculation induced rapid influx of macrophages into the lung and local induction of proinflammatory cytokines. Northern blot analysis of total RNA from lung tissue indicated that inoculated pigs had increased concentrations of interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-1α, and IL-8; tumor necrosis factor messenger RNA concentration was not increased. Conclusions - Endotracheal inoculation with A pleuropneumoniae rapidly and consistently induced diffuse bilateral pneumonia; thus, this method may be useful for the study of acute pathophysiologic changes associated with bacterial pneumonia and may provide an experimental model for testing modalities for prevention and treatment of this and other respiratory tract diseases of pigs.