Rotaviruses have been implicated as the major causal agents of acute diarrhoea in mammals and fowls. Experimental rotavirus infection have been associated to a series of sub-cellular pathologic alterations leading to cell lysis which may represent key functions in the pathogenesis of the diarrhoeic disease. The current work describes the cytopathic changes in cultured MA-104 cells infected by a simian (SA-11) and a porcine (1154) rotavirus strains. Trypan blue exclusion staining showed increased cell permeability after infection by both strains, as demonstrated by cell viability. This effect was confirmed by the leakage of infected cells evaluated by chromium release. Nuclear fragmentation was observed by acridine orange and Wright staining but specific DNA cleavage was not detected. Ultrastructural changes, such as chromatin condensation, cytoplasm vacuolisation, and loss of intercellular contact were shown in infected cells for both strains. In situ terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (Tunel) assay did not show positive result. In conclusion, we demonstrated that both strains of rotavirus induced necrosis as the major degenerative effect.