Experimental autoimmune gastritis (AIG), defined by the appearance of auto antibodies to parietal cells, was induced by neonatal thymectomy in BALB/c nu/+mice 3 days after birth. Vitamin B12 absorption and intrinsic factor in the stomach extract decreased compared with those in AIG-negative control groups. No decrease of the serum A/G ratio in AIG-bearing mice was observed. Although development of anemia, as evaluated by a decrease in hematocrit value, was poor until 12 mo of age and the gastric mucosa was hypertrophic, the AIG resembled human pernicious anemia rather than Ménétrier's disease. Adoptive transfer of spleen cells, but not sera, of AIG-bearing nu/+ into BALB/c nu/nu mice caused AIG in all animals 1 mo later, indicating the involvement of lymphocytes in the induction mechanism of AIG. Cytofluorometric and immunohistochemical analysis of lymphocytes in the gastric mucosa revealed T-cell infiltration at an early stage (1.5-3 mo) followed by B cell infiltration (6 mo). When the fraction enriched with parietal cells, which were intensively stained with sera of AIG-bearing mice and fluorescent antibody to mouse immunoglobulin G, was injected into the foot pads of AIG-bearing nude mice, typical delayed-type hypersensitivity reaction was observed in all animals. This was not seen in the mice injected with the cell fraction enriched with chief cells, although a few of them were stained by the immunofluorescent technique. Thus, the delayed-type hypersensitivity reaction seems to be directly involved in the mechanism of tissue damage.