ICR:CD-1 male mice were orally administered with Nivalenol(NIV) at the dose levels of 5, 10 and 15 mg/kg body weight, and examined at 12, 24 and 48 hours after inoculation (HAI), respectively, to elucidate the process of development of apoptosis in the thymus, spleen and Peyer's patch. There were no signs of clinical disorders and no changes in body and organ weights until 48 HAI except for that the thymus weight significantly decreased at 48 HAI. Immunohistochemically, the number of apoptotic lymphocytes evaluated by in situ detection for fragmented DNA showed a dose-dependent increase at 12 HAI in both the thymus and the Peyer's patch, while it became to increase at 24 HAI in the spleen. Dead lymphocytes in the thymus, spleen and Peyer's patch showed ultrastructural characteristics of apoptosis. Moreover, the DNA ladder was first detected by agarose gel electrophoresis at 12 HAI in the thymus of 15 mg/kg-group. The results clearly indicate that NIV is able to induce apoptosis in the lymphoid tissues of mice.