Objective. To analyze Fas and tumor necrosis factor receptor I (TNFRI) apoptosis pathways in salivary gland inflammatory disease induced by murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV) infection. Methods. Four different strains of mice (C57B1/6 [B6]-+/+, Fas-deficient B6-lpr/lpr, TNFRI-deficient B6-tnfr1(0/0), and B6-tnfr1(0/0)-lpr/lpr mice) were infected intraperitoneally with the Smith strain of MCMV (1 x 10 5 plaque-forming units). Viral load was determined by a plaque assay, inflammation and apoptosis by immunohistochemistry and staining with terminal dUTP nick-end labeling, and autoantibodies by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Results. Infectious MCMV was not detectable by day 100. Although all MCMV-infected mice developed acute sialadenitis by day 28, a chronic (>100 days), severe salivary gland inflammation and anti-Ro and anti-La antibodies developed only in the B6- lpr/lpr mice. Apoptotic cells were detected during the acute, but not the chronic, phase of inflammation. Conclusion. Both Fas- and TNFRI-mediated apoptosis contribute to the clearance of MCMV-infected cells in the salivary glands. However, because Fas-mediated apoptosis is necessary for the down- modulation of the immune response, a defect in this process can lead to a postinfection, chronic inflammatory response that resembles Sjogren's syndrome.