Chronic primary infections with Heligmosomoides polygyrus (Nematospiroides dubius) are still relatively poorly documented, particularly in relation to the role of host resistance in limiting worm survival. In the present work the duration of infection with H. polygyrus was studied in CFLP mice given doses of infective larvae ranging from 50 to 500 L3. The least heavily infected (50 L3) group ceased egg production earliest (week 36) whereas eggs were still detected in the faeces of mice given 500 larvae in week 42. At autopsy (week 42) mice given 50 larvae had virtually lost their entire worm burden with 5 out of 11 mice still harbouring a single worm each. However, all the mice in the group given 500 larvae were still infected, the highest worm burden being 93. The concentration of serum IgGl and specific antibody was highest in mice given 500 larvae, but sera taken from mice with declining worm burdens 19–38 weeks post-infection did not contain detectable host-protective antibody. During the course of infection in CFLP mice, H, polygyrus sustained irreversible changes in its capacity for subsequent survival. Thus, adult worms transferred to naive mice 2, 7, 14, 30 or 36 weeks post-infection did not live longer than worms of a comparable age in the respective donor group. In contrast, primary infection worms taken from jirds in which expulsion is usually completed by 6 weeks post-infection, re-established in mice and survived considerably longer than in the group of donor jirds. These results were discussed in relation to the possible interactions between parasite senility and immunomodulation, and host resistance in limiting primary infections with H. polygyrus in mice and jirds.