To understand the role of non-secreted components of Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae in virulence, we investigated in vitro cytotoxicity and in vivo pulmonary changes in pigs due to various A. pleuropneumoniae (serotype 1) fractions. Following 1.5 h incubation, lipopolysaccharide (LPS), 2 crude extracts and bacterial culture supernatant (BCS) at high concentrations were cytotoxic to porcine pulmonary alveolar macrophages (PAM), peripheral blood mononuclear leucocytes, neutrophils and a cultured porcine bone marrow cell line. Heat-killed bacteria were cytotoxic to PAM after 24 h incubation. The 2 crude extracts were prepared by shaking either intact bacteria after removing culture supernatants (crude surface extract, CSE), or whole bacterial culture (crude surface plus culture supernatant extract, CSSE) with glass beads in saline at 60 degrees C. Further experiments showed that proteins from the bacterial membrane were partially involved in cytotoxicities of these 2 extracts. Both BCS and CSSE caused multivocal hemorrhage and neutrophil infiltration when inoculated into porcine lungs, but CSE did not. The lung:whole body weight ratios of the pigs treated with CSSE were significantly higher (P < 0.05) than those of pigs treated with BCS, CSE, or control solution. It is concluded that beside the secreted proteins, bacterial surface components including LPS and non-secreted proteins were cytotoxic in vitro; and secreted and non-secreted components act synergistically to cause lung lesions.