Mice with X-linked chronic granulomatous disease (CGD) generated by targeted disruption of the gp91(pbox) subunit of the NADPH-oxidase complex (X-CGD mice) were examined for their response to respiratory challenge with Aspergillus fumigatus. This opportunistic fungal pathogen causes infection in CGD patients due to the deficient generation of neutrophil respiratory burst oxidants important for damaging A. fumigatus hyphae. Alveolar macrophages from X-CGD mice were found to kill A. fumigatus conidia in vitro as effectively as alveolar macrophages from wild-type mice. Pulmonary disease in X-CGD mice was observed after administration of doses ranging from 105 to 48 spores, none of which produced disease in wild-type mice. Higher doses produced a rapidly fatal bronchopneumonia in X-CGD mice, whereas progression of disease was slower at lower doses, with development of chronic inflammatory lesions. Marked differences were also observed in the response of X-CGD mice to the administration of sterilized Aspergillus hyphae into the lung. Within 24 hours of administration, X-CGD mice had significantly higher numbers of alveolar neutrophils and increased expression of the proinflammatory cytokines IL-1β and TNF-α relative to the responses seen in wild-type mice, whereas X-CGD mice developed chronic granulomatous lesions that persisted for at least six weeks. This is the first experimental evidence that chronic inflammation in CGD does not always result from persistent infection, and suggests that the clinical manifestations of this disorder reflect both impaired microbial killing as well as other abnormalities in the inflammatory response in the absence of a respiratory burst.