Invasive Salmonella typhimurium induces dramatic cytoskeletal changes on the membrane surface of mammalian epithelial cells and RAW264.7 macrophages as part of its entry mechanism. Noninvasive S. typhimurium strains are unable to induce this membrane ruffling. Invasive S. typhimurium strains invade RAW264.7 macrophages in 2 h with 7- to 10-fold higher levels than noninvasive strains. Invasive S. typhimurium and Salmonella typhi, independent of their ability to replicate intracellularly, are cytotoxic to RAW264.7 macrophages and, to a greater degree, to murine bone marrow-derived macrophages. Here, we show that the macrophage cytotoxicity mediated by invasive Salmonella is apoptosis, as shown by nuclear morphology, cytoplasmic vacuolization, and host cell DNA fragmentation. S. typhimurium that enter cells causing ruffles but are mutant for subsequent intracellular replication also initiate host cell apoptosis. Mutant S. typhimurium that are incapable of inducing host cell membrane ruffling fail to induce apoptosis. The activation state of the macrophage plays a significant role in the response of macrophages to Salmonella invasion, perhaps indicating that the signal or receptor for initiating programmed cell death is upregulated in activated macrophages. The ability of Salmonella to promote apoptosis may be important for the initiation of infection, bacterial survival, and escape of the host immune response.