Experimental allergic orchitis (EAO) can be induced actively and passively in mice by either immunization with mouse testicular homogenate (MTH) in conjunction with the appropriate adjuvants or by transferring CD4+ T cells isolated from sensitized donors into non-immunized, naive recipients. The distribution of inflammatory lesions seen in active and passive EAO are markedly different. In active EAO maximal disease is observed in the seminiferous tubules, whereas in passive EAO lesions occur primarily in the straight tubules, rete testis, and ductus efferentes. These observations suggest that different immunopathogenic mechanisms and/or aspermatogenic autoantigens may be responsible for the distinct histopathologic profiles. Two murine testis-specific aspermatogenic autoantigens (mAP1 and mAP2) were partially purified from MT acetone powder by extraction in 7-M urea under reducing conditions, gel filtration, ion-exchange chromatography, and preparative isoelectric focusing from pH 3 to 10. In gel filtration on Sephacryl S-400 in 7-M urea, mAP1 is confined to the V0 peak, while mAP2 is in the major included peak. mAP1 has an isoelectric point of 4.4-4.9, is sensitive to both pronase and DNase but not RNase, and is active at a minimal dose of 250-500 micrograms (dry wt). Dose-response bioassays for active and passive EAO revealed that mAP1 preferentially elicits active disease, whereas mAP2 is most effective at eliciting passive disease. These results support the concept that the different histopathologic profiles seen in active and passive EAO are, in part, the result of different immunopathologic responses elicited by separate aspermatogenic autoantigens.