1. Hematogenous E. coli pyelonephritis was produced in rats. The localization of the organisms and the persistence of bacterial antigens was followed by fluorescent antibody techniques as well as by standard histological and bacteriological methods.
2. Salient sequential features were as follows: Single organisms passed through vessel walls into the renal interstitium and began multiplication and subsequently evoked a leucocytic response. Bacterial multiplication did not occur in glomeruli or renal tubular cells. Bacteria did not appear within renal tubular lumina until microabscesses were well developed in the renal interstitium. Bacteriuria appeared late and represented secondary invasion rather than filtration of organisms. The infection healed spontaneously but, while sterile, the parenchymal scars contained large amounts of residual bacterial antigen. The persistence of bacterial antigen did not result in continuing inflammatory changes or progressive scarring.
3. The persistence of bacterial antigens is postulated to constitute a major antigenic stimulus responsible for active immunity in experimental hematogenous pyelonephritis.