Although the immune response to Brucella abortus is multifaceted, the key event in contending with this pathogen appears to be the interaction of the organism with cells of the mononuclear phagocyte system. A cell culture system was developed which allowed the long-term maintenance of blood monocyte-derived macrophages in Teflon culture vessels in a relatively unstimulated state. The assay system was optimized for timing of bacteria-macrophage interaction and numbers of bacteria and macrophages used in each assay. Interaction of B. abortus strain 2308 with bovine mononuclear phagocytes from animals phenotypically resistant and susceptible to infection with B. abortus was investigated. This cell culture and assay system should provide a useful model for the investigation of intracellular parasitism in cattle.