Radiation-induced chimeric mice were used to study the origin of pulmonary alveolar macrophages. Unlike in other studies, these radiation chimeras were prepared by using a special fractionated irradiation regimen to minimize the killing of alveolar macrophage colony-forming cells, putative local stem cells. For this study CBA mice with or without T6 chromosome marker were used. Under this experimental condition, the majority of alveolar macrophages in mitosis are of host origin even after 45 weeks. These data suggest that alveolar macrophages are a self-renewing population under normal steady-state conditions.