To measure the inflammatory changes associated with the implantation of an equine hydroxyapatite and collagen-containing block graft (eHAC block) in a rodent model system, an eHAC block graft was implanted subcutaneously in rats. Control groups included saline, turpentine oil, and human mineralized particulate allograft (hMPA). Animals were sacrificed and tissue samples obtained after three days, as well as after 1, 2, 4 and 8 weeks. A panel of immunologic probes was used to identify circulatory monocytic cells (ED1), resident mononuclear phagocytes (ED2), mononuclear phagocytes of lymphoid origin (ED3), expression of Ia antigen (OX6), T-cells (OX19), and B-cells (OX33). Immunocytochemical localization was performed and mononuclear cells localized with each immunologic probe counted. Rat sera obtained after eight weeks were used for nitrocellulose dot-blotting to assess circulating anti-equine immunoglobulins. Statistical analysis was performed using two-way analysis of variance, in conjunction with the Bonferroni correction to account for multiple comparisons. A transient increase in monocytes at 3 days and 1 week was observed in all groups, but was significantly higher in the turpentine control (P < 0.0001). A significant increase in the numbers of mononuclear cells detected with clones ED2 and ED3 was observed in specimens from the turpentine group, in contrast to the other groups in the 3 day to 4 week interval (P < 0.0001), as well as within all time periods (P < 0.0001). A statistically significant difference in numbers of ED3-positive cells was observed in the hMPA group compared to the saline and the eHAC block groups after one week (P < 0.0001). Significantly more OX6-positive cells were observed in the turpentine group, compared to other groups (3 days to 1 week; P < 0.0001). T-lymphocytes were essentially absent except for rats given turpentine (after 1 week). No B-lymphocyte response was found and none of the rats developed systemic anti-equine antibodies. These data indicate that a cellular immune response is not elicited following implantation with the eHAC block graft, which might serve as an alternative material for regenerative therapy.