The effect of aging on host resistance to systemic candidosis was assessed by monitoring the course of infection in 16-month-old CBA/CaH mice (aged non-immune) and in a comparable group that had been infected with a sublethal dose of at 6 weeks of age (aged immune). Aged non-immune mice showed rapid progression of the disease, with a marked increase in the number of mycelia in the brain and kidney, and early morbidity. Foci of myocardial necrosis were evident, but inflammatory cells were sparse. The histological picture in the aged immune mice was similar to that in the aged non-immune group, although fewer mycelial aggregates were seen. Both groups of aged mice showed a significantly lower fungal burden in the brain on day 1 of infection, but on day 4, colony counts increased significantly in the aged non-immune mice. Comparison of cytokine gene expression in the infected brains showed that the relative amount of interferon-γ and tumour necrosis factor-α cDNA were similar in all three groups. Interleukin-6 was elevated in both infected non-immune and uninfected aged mice. Aged immune mice showed no morbidity after challenge, and both colonisation and tissue damage were reduced in comparison with the aged non-immune animals.