Cell-mediated immune (CMI) responses play a major role in protection as well as pathogenesis of many intracellular bacterial infections. In this study, we evaluated the infection kinetics and assessed histologically the lymphoid reactions and local, in vitro-restimulated CMI responses in lungs of BALB/c mice, during both primary infection and reinfection with Chlamydia pneumoniae. The primary challenge resulted in a self-restricted infection with elimination of culturable bacteria by day 27 after challenge. A mild lymphoid reaction characterized the pathology in the lungs. In vitro CMI responses consisted of a weak proliferative response and no secretion of gamma interferon (IFN-gamma). The number of lung-derived mononuclear cells increased substantially during the primary infection; the largest relative increase was observed in B cells (B220(+)). After reinfection, the number of lung-derived mononuclear cells increased further, and the response consisted mainly of T cells. The reinfection was characterized in vivo by significant protection from infection (fewer cultivable bacteria in the lungs for a shorter period of time) but increased local lymphoid reaction at the infection site. In vitro, as opposed to the response in naive mice, acquired immunity was characterized by a strongly Th1-biased (IFN-gamma) CMI response. These results suggest that repeated infections with C. pneumoniae may induce Th1-type responses with similar associated tissue reactions, as shown in C. trachomatis infection models.