Idiopathic pneumonia syndrome (IPS) refers to diffuse, non-infectious pneumonia that occurs after allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (BMT). We have developed a model of IPS using a well-characterized murine BMT system (B10.BR-->CBA) in which lung injury after BMT can be induced by minor histocompatibility (H) antigenic differences between donor and host. Lung pathology and broncho-alveolar lavage (BAL) fluid were analyzed in transplant recipients before and after both syngeneic and allogeneic BMT. At 2 weeks after BMT, no specific pathologic abnormalities were noted; at 6 weeks, both pneumonitis and mononuclear cell infiltration around vessels and bronchioles were observed only in mice receiving allogeneic BMT. This injury was associated with elevated BAL fluid levels of endotoxin (lipopolysaccharide [LPS]), neutrophils, and tumor necrosis factor alpha. No pathologic organisms were isolated from the respiratory tract of any animal. We also tested the role of endotoxin in the development of this injury. Injection of LPS 6 weeks after transplantation caused profound lung injury only in mice with moderate graft-versus-host disease; dramatic increases in BAL neutrophils and tumor necrosis factor alpha were observed, with alveolar hemorrhage occurring in 4 of 12 of these mice but in no other group. We conclude that (1) this murine BMT system is a potentially useful model of clinical IPS; (2) minor H differences between donor and recipient can be important stimuli in the pathogenesis of IPS; and (3) endotoxin in BAL fluid is associated with lung injury, and excess endotoxin can cause the development of alveolar hemorrhage in this model.