The aim of this study was to investigate the kinetics of a primary and secondary immune response against pseudorabies virus (PRV). Pigs vaccinated with strain 783 and unvaccinated pigs were challenged with wild-type PRV by either intranasal or subcutaneous infection. Non-challenged pigs were used as controls. On days 1, 3 and 7 after challenge, tissues from the site of infection, and the tonsils of intranasally and the draining lymph nodes of subcutaneously challenged pigs were sampled. Immunohistological staining was used to characterize the various cell populations at the primary site of virus replication and in the lymphoid tissue. Tissue sections were stained for the T-cell markers CD2, CD3 gamma delta, CD4 and CD8, for the B-cell markers IgM, IgA and IgG, for a macrophage marker, and for PRV antigen. After challenge, PRV was detected during a shorter period in vaccinated pigs, and was less disseminated than in unvaccinated pigs. Cellular infiltrates were detected both in the nasal mucosa and the subcutaneous tissue of both unvaccinated and vaccinated pigs. Cell infiltrates, however, appeared earlier in vaccinated than in unvaccinated pigs, indicating a difference in kinetics of the primary and secondary immune response. The appearance of T-cells preceded the appearance of B-cells, but the proportion of the various subsets did not differ between unvaccinated and vaccinated pigs. These findings suggest that the early immune response in vaccinated pigs may contribute to the rapid clearance of virus at the primary site of infection. In addition, T-cells appear to have a more important role in the clearance of PRV than B-cells.