OBJECTIVE: This report describes 3 cases of ciliated epithelium-lined radicular cysts among 256 apical periodontitis lesions and also illustrates the occurrence of an Actinomyces-infected periapical cyst. STUDY DESIGN: Serial and step serial sections of 256 plastic-embedded root apices with attached apical periodontitis lesions that were prepared for a previous investigation were reviewed for the presence of ciliated epithelium-lined radicular cysts. The lesions that were found to have such epithelial lining were examined in a transmission electron microscope to elaborate the fine structure of the ciliated cells. RESULTS: A total of 3 ciliated columnar epithelium-lined cysts was found among the 256 apical periodontitis lesions examined. Two of the lesions also contained stratified squamous epithelium. All 3 lesions affected maxillary premolars. One of the lesions was a true cyst, and the other 2 were periapical pocket cysts. The lumen of 1 of the latter revealed the presence of typical "ray-fungus" actinomycotic colonies. CONCLUSION: Although the stratified squamous component of the epithelia that lined the radicular cysts reported here may be derived from the cell rests of Malassez, the ciliated epithelial cells may be of sinus origin. Microbial agents from diseased root canals can advance into radicular cysts, particularly in pocket cysts, with the possible threat of such infection in upper posterior teeth spreading into the maxillary sinus.