Aims - To examine the hypothesis that apoptosis of infiltrating cells contributes to spontaneous resolution of uveitis in clinically relevant rodent models. Methods - Experimental melanin induced uveitis (EMIU) was induced in Fischer 344 rats by immunisation with 250 μg bovine ocular melanin. Endotoxin induced uveitis (EIU) was induced by injection of 200 μg Escherichia coli lipopolysaccharide. Formalin fixed, paraffin embedded ocular cross sections were stained by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase mediated deoxyuridine triphosphate biotin nick end labelling (TUNEL) to identify apoptotic cells. Indirect immunoperoxidase staining of paraformaldehyde lysine periodate fixed tissue cross sections was used to demonstrate expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS). Results - TUNEL positive mononuclear cells were observed in the anterior uvea during both EMIU and EIU at all selected time points. However, whereas the majority of mononuclear cells appeared apoptotic from the outset of disease, neutrophils were notably TUNEL negative at all time points examined. Many infiltrating neutrophils expressed iNOS. Conclusion - Apoptosis occurs early in the course of rat EMIU and EIU, and may contribute to resolution of these diseases. In general, infiltrating mononuclear cells die rapidly, while neutrophils survive, producing inducible nitric oxide synthase which may contribute to disease pathogenesis.