We report on a model of primary pulmonary aspergillosis occurring after intranasal instillation of concentrated suspensions of conidia of Aspergillus fumigatus in immunocompromised mice. Unconcentrated suspensions of inoculum contained ca. 2 x 10(7) conidia per ml (1x). These suspensions were concentrated by centrifugation, adjusted to give ca. 2 x 10(8) (10x) or 2 x 10(9) (100x) conidia per ml, and delivered in 30-microliters droplets to the nares of anesthetized mice. Mice were untreated or injected with cortisone acetate (CA) or cyclophosphamide (CY) in various dosage regimens. It was not possible to obtain mortality of more than 50% with sublethal immunosuppressive treatment and 1x fungus. In contrast, mortality followed a fungus dose response in mice receiving sublethal immunosuppression with either CA or CY. Mortality rates of up to 100% were obtained with 100x fungus and a single dose of CY (200 mg/kg) or CA (250 mg/kg) or three alternate doses (125 mg/kg per day) of CA prior to infection. This model is applicable to the study of acute, fatal primary pulmonary aspergillosis and chemotherapy trials.