The outcome of Leishmania major infection in IL-4-deficient BALB/c mice has been a controversial subject. We have shown that IL-4-deficient BALB/c mice infected with Leishmania major developed progressive lesions and could not contain the replication of the parasites, whereas other studies have reported that IL-4-deficient mice were able to resist infection. Therefore, we examined different factors that can influence the course of Leishmania major infection. We tested different lines of IL-4-deficient BALB/c mice and show that the reported differences in the outcome of infection were not due to the different genetic origin of the embryonic stem cells used to disrupt the IL-4 gene. In addition, we infected IL-4-deficient mice with different isolates of L. major parasites and show that none of the parasite strains tested were cleared, although some of them caused milder pathology. Interestingly, this milder pathology was paralleled by a reduced arginase activity of the parasites. We also tested the influence of age on the course of Leishmania major infection in IL-4-deficient BALB/c mice and show that older mice express a transient resistance. Thus, we conclude that differences in the age of the mice and in the arginase activity of the different isolates of parasites are factors that can influence the non-healing phenotype of IL-4-/- BALB/c mice.