The systemic toxicity of two phosphorothioate oligonucleotides specific for herpes simplex viruses (ISIS 1082) and human papiloma virus (ISIS 2105) were evaluated following repeated intradermal injections of vehicle control, 0.33, 2.17, or 21.7 mg/kg daily to Sprague-Dawley rats (10/sex/group) for 14 days. Animals were sacrificed 1 day after the last dose, except for a portion of the ISIS 1082-treated animals (5/sex/group) which were maintained for an additional 14-day recovery period. The profile of alterations noted for both compounds was very similar. Other than local signs of irritation at the site of injection, there were no clinical signs of toxicity or treatment-related mortality, but there was a slight decrease in body weight gain for the 21.7 mg/kg dose groups. Alterations in hematology parameters included dose-dependent thrombocytopenia and anemia. Alterations in serum chemistry parameters were suggestive of mild alterations in hepatic metabolism, with increases in liver transaminases and bilirubin, along with decreases in albumin and cholesterol. Both spleen and liver weights were significantly elevated in a dose-dependent fashion. Histopathological alterations noted in liver, kidney, lung, injection site skin, and spleen were characterized as perivascular and interstitial infiltrates of macrophages and monocytes. Additional microscopic alterations in the spleen included mild lymphoid hyperplasia (seen in lymph nodes as well), and extramedullary hematopoiesis. Treatment-related cytopenias were likely related to mild, focal hypocellularity in the bone marrow. Alterations in ISIS 1082-treated animals were only partially reversed following the 14-day treatment-free period. In conclusion, repeated intradermal administration of ISIS 1082 and ISIS 2105 produced a similar spectrum of toxicities, with liver, kidney, spleen, and bone marrow being identified as target tissues.