In these studies, neonatal C.B-17 severe combined immunodeficient (nSCID) mice were reconstituted with human cord blood leukocytes (hu-CBLs). The resulting hu-CBL-nSCID mice contained readily detectable human CD3+ T lymphocytes and CD20+ human B cells, and produced substantial levels of human IgM and IgG (including all subclasses). Human cells persisted in lymphoid organs and peripheral blood for at least 8 weeks, and CD4+ T cells outnumbered CD8+ T cells. Engraftment of human cells in peripheral lymphoid organs and blood was much greater than that seen in adult SCID mice grafted with adult peripheral blood leukocytes (PBLs). Hu-CBL-nSCID mice were susceptible to infection with laboratory-adapted and fresh clinical human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) isolates. Following infection with HIV-1, virus could be recovered by the coculture of spleen, lymph node, peritoneal cavity, liver, and plasma samples from hu-CBL-nSCID mice with fresh human peripheral blood mononuclear cells, and proviral copies were detectable following amplification using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). HIV p24 core antigen levels in hu-CBL-nSCID mouse plasma were consistent with ongoing viral replication and high viral burdens. Rapid CD4+ T cell depletion occurred following infection with laboratory isolates of HIV-1 or a syncytium-inducing clinical isolate, but a non-syncytium-inducing clinical isolate caused expansion of CD8+ T cells, leading to an inversion of the CD4:CD8 ratio with only a transient decrease in CD4+ T cells. These results suggest that the hu-CBL-nSCID mouse system has unique features that mimic certain aspects of pediatric HIV infection, and distinguish it from other animal models of HIV infection, including the related hu-PBL-SCID model.