Inbred CE/J mice have been identified as extremely resistant to azocasein-induced amyloidosis relative to five commonly used inbred strains, A/J, CBA/J, C57BL/6J, C3H/HeN, and SJL/J. The enhanced amyloid resistance in CE/J mice seems to derive from the novel structure of the SAA gene family in CE/J mice, as determined by Southern blot hybridization analysis of SAA gene structure and isoelectric focusing analysis of acute phase SAA proteins in the six inbred strains. In CE/J mice, a single, novel SAA isoform of pI 6.15 is present, whereas in the other strains the amyloidogenic SAA2 isoform (pI 6.3) is codominantly expressed with SAA1 (pI 6.45). Two other inbred strains, PERU and IS/CAM, share common SAA specific HindIII DNA fragments with CE/J mice. Wild-derived Mus musculus mice differ from all of the inbred strains studied, both in SAA gene structure and in the pattern of SAA isoform production; two isoforms, one pI 6.15 and the other pI 6.3 (corresponding to SAA2), were codominantly expressed. Only the pI 6.15 isoform, not SAA1 and 2, was produced by CE/J mice in response to lipopolysaccharide, casein, silver nitrate, interleukin-1, or tumor necrosis factor; tumor necrosis factor was a weaker stimulus than interleukin-1 for the pI 6.15 isoform as it is for SAA1 and 2 production in the other inbred strains. This study provides a new line of evidence supporting the role of precursor structure as a determining factor in murine amyloid A amyloidosis and provides a valuable model for studies of amyloidogenesis.