The purpose of this study was to investigate and to compare radiographically the development of periapical lesions in the lower left first molar of normal rats, sialoadenectomised rats and sialoadenectomised-immunosuppressed rats. Sixty male Wistar rats, weighing from 170 to 200 g were utilized. The animals were divided equally into three groups: group I--20 normal rats; group II--20 sialoadenectomised rats; and group III--20 sialoadenectomised-immunosuppressed rats. Groups II and III were sialoadenectomized using the modified Cheyne technique. After 2 weeks, group III was submitted to a immunosuppression regimen by daily subcutaneous cyclosporin A injection (10 mg/kg body weight). After 1 week of immunosuppression for this group, the pulps of all the animals (group I, II and III) were exposed to the oral cavity, to produce apical periodontitis. Five animals of each group were killed 7, 14, 21 and 28 days after pulpal exposure. Their mandibles were surgically removed and radiographically analysed. The lesions were measured using 'Global Lab Image' software. The results showed predictable growth of the lesions during the experimental period. No significant difference was observed between the groups. It was concluded that possible changes in the oral flora and in the host immune response due to xerostomia associated or not to the immunosuppression did not alter the development of the periapical lesions in rats.