Objective. To determine whether defective T cell apoptosis is associated with the development of a chronic arthritis subsequent to mycoplasma infection, and to determine whether deletion of T cells can prevent the development of this arthritis. Methods. B6 wild-type (B6-+/+), B6-lpr/lpr, and B6-gld/gld mice were infected with Mycoplasma pulmonis. The severity of lymphocytic infiltration and joint damage was evaluated, and the degree of recovery of viable mycoplasma from the spleen and joints was determined. Antigen-presenting cells derived from Fas mutant lpr mice (lpr-APC) were transfected ex vivo with an adenovirus (Ad) vector to yield lpr-APC expressing high levels of Fas ligand (lpr-APC-AdFasL), which in turn were transferred intraperitoneally into M pulmonis-infected B6-gld/gld mice. The development of arthritis subsequent to M pulmonis infection and the induction of apoptosis of cells within the synovial tissue and lymph nodes of lpr-APC-AdFasL-treated B6-gld/gld mice were determined. Results. Infection of B6-lpr/lpr and B6-gld/gld mice with M pulmonis resulted in an acute-phase inflammation of the synovium that later developed into a chronic erosive arthritis. Similar infection of B6-+/+ mice resulted only in an acute joint inflammatory response that resolved. Chronic arthritis in B6-gld/gld mice and B6-lpr/lpr was not due to persistent infection, since there were no differences in the rates of clearance of M pulmonis from the joints of B6-gld/gld or B6-lpr/lpr mice compared with B6-+/+ mice. Treatment of infected B6-gld/gld mice with lpr-APC-AdFasL resulted in a significantly decreased incidence of chronic arthritis that was associated with a decrease in lymph node T cells, but not with apoptosis of synovial T cells or fibroblasts. Conclusion. Defective Fas/FasL-mediated apoptosis of T cells is an important factor that rendered arthritis-resistant B6 mice susceptible to the development of a chronic erosive arthritis subsequent to mycoplasma infection. In vivo lpr-APC-AdFasL cell-gene therapy is a safe and effective method for inhibiting the development of this arthritis.