The role of antibody in immune recovery from infection with lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) strain WE was evaluated in B-cell-depleted mice. Mice were treated from birth with either affinity-purified rabbit anti-mouse immunoglobulin M (IgM), normal rabbit immunoglobulin, or, alternatively, an affinity-purified monoclonal rat anti-mouse IgM antibody (LO-MM-9); untreated mice served as controls. B-cell depletion was considered complete in specifically treated mice according to the following criteria: absence of a significant response to the B-cell mitogen lipopolysaccharide, absence of B cells expressing immunoglobulin on their surfaces, absence of detectable IgM or IgG in serum, and presence in the serum of free anti-IgM antibodies. In organs of mu-suppressed BALB/c mice, LCMV-WE replicated, dependent upon organ, at the same rate or more rapidly and, in general, to higher titers than in normal rabbit immunoglobulin-treated mice; untreated mice eliminated the virus most rapidly and showed lower virus titers. In addition, LCMV-primed control mice cleared a second LCMV challenge very rapidly and contained no virus by day 3, whereas mu-suppressed mice had virus in their blood and organs (except the spleen) up to days 3 to 6. The observed effects of anti-mu treatment may reflect the action of neutralizing antibodies (which so far have been difficult to demonstrate in vivo) or other antibody-dependent antiviral mechanisms which, together with T cells, efficiently control LCMV clearance.