Antibacterial and antitoxin responses in the acute and convalescent (7 to 10 days) sera of 14 cholera patients were determined by various serological techniques. Similar studies were also carried out with corresponding milk samples of six of these patients who were lactating women. A significant rise in antibacterial titers was observed in all convalescent serum and milk samples. A similar rise in antitoxin titers was observable in all serum and four milk samples. Specificity of the antibacterial titers was further evaluated by the indirect hemagglutination test using lipopolysaccharide antigen, and close correlations were noted between these titers and vibrio agglutination (P<0.001) and vibriocidal (P<0.001) titers of sera. Serum and milk convalescent cholera patients could effectively neutralize cholera toxin action in vivo, although the neutralizing activity of serum was higher than that of milk. Determination of antibody titers by the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay demonstrated that anti-lipopolysaccharide activity in sera belonged predominantly to immunoglobulin M (IgM) and, to a lesser extent, to IgG and IgA, whereas such activity in milk was mostly contributed by secretory IgA, although some IgM antibodies also could be detected. On the other hand, antitoxic activity in convalescent sera primarily belonged to IgG, whereas such activity in milk was almost exclusively contributed by secretory IgA. These results demonstrate that an antibody response in the mammary gland was stimulated due to the antigen exposure in the gut and are consistent with the idea of a common homing pattern of immunocytes within the secretory immune system. Moreover, some differences in the antibody production mechanism between the systemic and secretory immune systems are indicated.