Mice with targeted disruptions in the T-cell receptor alpha gene (TCRalpha-/-) spontaneously develop inflammatory intestinal lesions with extensive B-cell lamina propria infiltrates. Cryptosporidium parvum infection accelerates intestinal lesion formation in TCRalpha-/- mice. In the present study, TCRalpha-/- mice were crossed with JH-/- (B-cell-deficient) mice and challenged with C. parvum to determine if B cells are required for intestinal lesion development. TCRalpha-/- x JH-/- mice challenged with C. parvum, either as neonates or adults, became persistently infected, whereas TCRalpha-/+ x JH-/+ heterozygote control mice cleared the parasite. Cryptosporidium parvum colonization of TCRalpha-/- x JH-/- mice was heaviest in the distal ileum, with fewer parasites detected in the cecum and distal colon. Despite persistent infection, TCRalpha-/- x JH-/- mice did not develop inflammatory or hyperplastic intestinal lesions as detected in C. parvum-infected TCRalpha-/- mice. These findings demonstrate that B cells are a necessary component for the development of inflammatory intestinal lesions of C. parvum-infected TCRalpha-/- mice.