ABSTRACT: Wistar rats immunized with an homologous testicular homogenate (TH) and complete Freund's adjuvant, followed by i.v. injection of Bordetella pertussis, developed an autoimmune orchitis (EAO). Animals were studied at 7, 16, 30, 50, and 80 days (d) after the first immunization. An important lesion of the testis only appeared at 50 d, increasing in severity and incidence (77%) at 80 d. Lesions were characterized by a prevalent aspermatogenesis with tubular atrophy and mild interstitial mononuclear infiltrates. Delayed-type hypersensitivity response (DTH) against TH was detected early at 7 d and, except for 16 d, it increased with time, reaching a maximum at 80 d. A good temporal relationship between DTH and histopathology was found. Circulating antibodies to TH, detected by ELISA, were only present in 64% of the animals with testis lesion, while no deposits of IgG or C3 in the seminiferous tubules were seen. We describe a sequence of immunological events, concomitant with pathological changes of the testis, during the development of a severe EAO in Wistar rats.