Streptococcus pneumoniaewas inoculated into the left middle-ear cavity in two groups of rats, resulting in purulent otitis media. After 3 days, one group of infected animals and a third group of noninfected animals were subjected to left-sided myringotomy. The tympanic membranes were examined both otomicroscopically and histologically 1 and 3 months later. On otomicroscopic examination the noninfected myringotomized animals had developed extensive myringosclerotic lesions, whereas only minimal sclerotic deposits were noted in the myringotomized animals with acute otitis media (AOM). On histologic examination both the noninfected myringotomized animals and the myringotomized animals with AOM were similar in the frequency and extension of sclerotic lesions in the tympanic membrane. The nonmyringotomized rats with AOM were free of sclerotic lesions, except for minor changes found in one animal.