Two groups of five pigs aged 6 weeks were each infected oronasally with one of two different European isolates of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV). The animals were killed sequentially at 4, 7, 14 or 21 days post-inoculation for examination. The methods used consisted of histopathology, and mono- and double-labelling techniques based on in-situ hybridization, immunofluorescence and immunohistochemistry. Porcine alveolar macrophages (PAMs) contained large amounts of PRRSV antigen and PRRSV RNA, as shown by double labelling with (1) either PRRSV immunofluorescence or PRRSV-specific in-situ hybridization with digoxigenin-labelled riboprobes, and (2) immunolabelling with Mac 387 antibody for calprotectin. Expression of PRRSV-RNA was not detectable in cytokeratin-positive hypertrophic and proliferating pneumocytes or in cells of alveolar ducts or bronchiolar epithelium. The use of two-colour immunofluorescence with confocal laser scanning microscopy and double labelling with in-situ hybridization-immunohistochemistry showed that PAMs were the only pulmonary target cells. This contradicts earlier reports that epithelial pulmonary cells may also be infected by PRRSV.