Intestinal fibrosis is a marked feature of late radiation enteropathy. This study assessed the time dose fractionation relationships of radiation-induced fibrosis in order to elucidate possible pathogenetic mechanisms. In 290 male Sprague-Dawley rats, a loop of small bowel was transposed to the left side of the scrotum. Three weeks later, the transposed segment was irradiated with either single dose or various fractionated regimens. The animals were observed for radiation-induced intestinal complications and killed in groups, 2 and 26 weeks after completion of irradiation. A semiquantitative histopathologic radiation injury score, morphometry of the submucosa, submucosal arterioles, intestinal surface area, and relative collagen content were used as endpoints. Fibrosis, measured by collagen assay and radiation injury score, increased with total dose, increasing fraction size and reduction in overall treatment time. This paralleled the results of morphometric assessment of mucosal surface area. Differences in vascular morphometry were only statistically significant in response to changes in total dose and fraction size and not with changes in overall treatment time. We conclude that fibrosis increases with increasing observation time, increasing fraction size, increasing total dose, and reduction of interfraction interval. Consequential injury, occurring as a result of disruption of mucosal integrity, seems to be an important mechanism for development of intestinal fibrosis. In contrast, vascular injury is relatively independent of this mechanism.