Flora-bearing mice with targeted disruption of T cell receptor (TCR)-alpha or -beta genes spontaneously develop intestinal inflammation with features similar to ulcerative colitis in humans. TCR-alpha-deficient mice maintained germfree or colonized with a limited number of intestinal bacteria failed to develop inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)-like lesions. Evidently, inflammation in these mice does not develop spontaneously or result from a generalized antigenic stimulation, but rather requires induction by a heretofore unidentified specific stimulus. We describe the development of IBD-like lesions in germfree TCR-alpha-deficient mice monoassociated with the protozoan Cryptosporidium parvum. Lesions were seen in distal ileum, cecum, and colon and were most severe in the cecum. A prominent leukocytic infiltrate within the lamina propria was a common characteristic of the lesions observed in the C. parvum-infected germfree TCR-alpha-deficient mice. The leukocytic infiltrate was composed of aggregates of B220+ cells, the majority of which expressed surface IgD (ie, conventional B lymphocytes). It has been proposed that antigenic stimulation by a microorganism(s) is needed to initiate intestinal inflammation in TCR-alpha-deficient mice. Our results indicate that a single microbial species, C. parvum, is capable of triggering the development of IBD-like lesions in germfree TCR-alpha-deficient mice.