Granulomatous experimental autoimmune thyroiditis (G-EAT) is induced by mouse thyroglobulin (MTG)-sensitized splenocytes activatedin vitrowith MTG and IL-12. Thyroid lesions reach maximal severity 20 days after cell transfer, and usually resolve or progress to fibrosis by day 60 depending on the extent of thyroid damage at day 20. Our previous studies indicated that neutralization of TNF-α or FasL had no effect on G-EAT induction, but neutralization of TNF-α promoted, while neutralization of FasL inhibited, G-EAT resolution. TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) is a member of the TNF superfamily. This study was undertaken to define the role of endogenous TRAIL in G-EAT development and/or resolution. Neutralization of endogenous TRAIL had little effect on G-EAT induction, but significantly inhibited G-EAT resolution and increased thyroid fibrosis. This correlated with higher expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines and preferential expression of the pro-apoptotic molecule TRAIL, and anti-apoptotic molecules FLIP and Bcl-xL on inflammatory cells in thyroids of anti-TRAIL-treated recipients. The results suggest that endogenous TRAIL is not required for G-EAT development in recipients, but is critical for G-EAT resolution. Endogenous TRAIL might promote resolution, at least in part, through modulation of the balance between pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines, and the expression pattern of pro- and anti-apoptotic molecules of thyroid epithelial cells (TECs) and inflammatory cells. Copyright © 2008 Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.