The acute and chronic effects of mouse hepatitis virus type 3 on the microcirculation of the liver in both semisusceptible C3HeB/FeJ and fully resistant A/J mice were studied. In the C3HeB/FeJ mice, abnormalities of microcirculatory flow were noted as early as 12 hr after infection and by 24 hr, localized avascular foci appeared. Disturbances were characterized by granular blood flow, sinusoidal microthrombi, distortion of sinusoids by edematous hepatocytes and necrotic lesions. Following the acute infection, Day 10, two patterns of chronic disease were observed. Eighty percent of the mice developed chronic granulomatous hepatitis whereas in the remaining 20% a more severe chronic aggressive hepatitis was observed which was characterized by ongoing hepatocellular necrosis and a marked mononuclear cell infiltrate. In both cases, in vivo microcirculatory abnormalities were found predominantly around visible lesions. Onset of the microcirculatory abnormalities was found to be concomitant with a rise in monocyte related procoagulant activity. Procoagulant activity rose acutely and remained elevated throughout the chronic phase but was higher in animals with severe disease. In contrast to the above, normal blood flow and histology were seen in the resistant A/J mice at all times following infection, and procoagulant activity remained at basal levels despite active viral replication as demonstrated by immunofluorescence studies and recovery of infectious virus. These observations suggest a role for monocyte procoagulant activity in the development of microcirculatory abnormalities following mouse hepatitis virus type 3 infection which may be important in the pathogenesis of the disease.