Bordetella bronchiseptica is one of the etiologic agents causing atrophic rhinitis and pneumonia in swine. It produces several purported virulence factors, including the dermonecrotic toxin (DNT), which has been implicated in the turbinate atrophy seen in cases of atrophic rhinitis. The purpose of these experiments was to clarify the role of this toxin in respiratory disease by comparing the pathogenicity in swine of two isogenic dnt mutants to their virulent DNT(+) parent strains. Two separate experiments were performed, one with each of the mutant-parent pairs. One-week-old cesarean-derived, colostrum-deprived pigs were inoculated intranasally with the parent strain, the dnt mutant strain, or phosphate-buffered saline. Weekly nasal washes were performed to monitor colonization of the nasal cavity, and the pigs were euthanized 4 weeks after inoculation to determine colonization of tissues and to examine the respiratory tract for pathology. There was evidence that colonization of the upper respiratory tract, but not the lower respiratory tract, was slightly greater for the parent strains than for the dnt mutants. Moderate turbinate atrophy and bronchopneumonia were found in most pigs given the parent strains, while there was no turbinate atrophy or pneumonia in pigs challenged with the dnt mutant strains. Therefore, production of DNT by B. bronchiseptica is necessary to produce the lesions of turbinate atrophy and bronchopneumonia in pigs infected with this organism.