Repeated challenge with antigen is involved in the pathogenesis of a variety of pulmonary diseases. Patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) experience recurrent pulmonary colonization with Pseudomonas aeruginosa before establishment of chronic lung infection. To mimic recurrent lung infections in CF patients, the lungs of susceptible BALB/c mice were re-infected with P. aeruginosa 14 days after the initial infection. Singly-infected BALB/c mice, as well as non-infected mice, were used as controls. Decreased mortality and milder lung inflammation in re-infected BALB/c mice, as well as a tendency for improved clearance of bacteria, was observed when compared with singly-infected mice. The improved outcome in re-infected mice correlated with changes in CD4 cell numbers. Surface expression of LFA-1 on pulmonary CD4 cells was increased in re-infected compared with singly-infected mice. Moreover, resistance to re-infection was paralleled by a shift towards a Th1-dominated response and increased IL-12 production. No significant increase in serum IgG was observed in the re-infected mice. In conclusion, these results indicate a protective role for a Th1-dominated response, independent of antibody production, in chronic P. aeruginosa lung infection in CF.