Immune responses and protection against influenza virus infection were compared between young (2 months) and aged (18 months) BALB/c, C3H and C57BL/6 (B6) mice after intranasal vaccination. The mice were immunized with 2.5 microg protein of A/PR/8/34 (PR8) (H1N1) virus vaccine containing a cholera toxin adjuvant. In both the young and aged BALB/c mice, high levels of PR8-specific antibody-forming cell (AFC) responses were induced in the nasal-associated lymphoid tissue (NALT) 7 days after immunization. Nasal wash IgA and serum IgG antibody (Ab) responses to the PR8 haemagglutinin (HA) 4 weeks after immunization were slightly higher in the young mice than in the aged mice. The young mice showed complete protection against challenge infection, while the aged mice showed only a partial protection. In the C3H mice, NALT-AFC, and IgA and IgG Ab responses were higher in the young mice than those in the aged mice in parallel with the more efficient protection in the young mice than in the aged mice. Both the young and aged B6 mice showed no NALT-AFC responses, scarce IgA and IgG Ab responses and no protection. In the BALB/c mice, IgG1 and IgG2a levels were significantly lower in the aged mice. On the other hand, in the C3H mice, only IgG2a level was significantly lower in the aged mice. Similar results were obtained in terms of immune responses and protection between the young and aged mice of three different strains of mice after intra-nasal immunization with 0.1 microg of PR8 vaccine containing the adjuvant, two-times at 4-week intervals. In the B6 mice, the immune response was improved by immunization with a higher dose of the adjuvant-combined vaccine. These results suggest that local Ab responses, as well as systemic Ab responses, are downregulated in aged mice, although the degree of the downregulation of immune responses differs from strain to strain.