The sequential accumulation of the protease-resistant form of the endogenous prion protein (PrP-res) was compared to levels of scrapie infectivity in the spleen and brain of scrapie-infected mice at various times after inoculation. In mouse spleen PrP-res was detected 1 week after inoculation, and increased 65-fold between 1 and 3 weeks post-inoculation and an additional 15-fold during the next 17 weeks. Infectivity in spleen reached a maximum plateau level by 3 weeks. In contrast, in mouse brain PrP-res was not detected until 8 weeks after inoculation and then increased 200-fold during the next 12 weeks. During this same time, infectivity increased approximately 10,000-fold. Therefore, in both spleen and brain of scrapie-infected mice accumulation of PrP-res and infectivity appear to be associated. However, it was not possible to show quantitative correlations between PrP-res detection and infectivity, perhaps owing to the inaccuracy of the infectivity assay.