Abstract We have used thiophilic and hydrophobic interaction chromatography in an attempt to obtain enriched human immunoglobulin G (IgG) subclasses from a therapeutic immunoglobulin preparation. Proteins were adsorbed on a thiophilic gel and on Phenyl-, Butyl-, or Octyl-Sepharose in 1 M ammonium sulphate. Elution with a decreasing salt gradient produced no marked subclass selectivity, except with Octyl-Sepharose, which yielded a poorly adsorbed fraction somewhat enriched in IgG2, representing ca. 20% of the total initial protein. Neither thiophilic nor hydrophobic interaction chromatography appear suitable for an efficient enrichment in subclasses, which all show a broad heterogeneity in their affinity for these columns. The influence of the starting salt concentration was also studied. With thiophilic gels, in the absence of ammonium sulphate, ca. 30% of the initial load was not adsorbed, and was found to be enriched in IgG2. At 2.5 and 5% ammonium sulphate, practically no adsorption occurred. At 7.5% ammonium sulphate, the non-adsorbed fraction was enriched in IgG3. With Phenyl-Sepharose, adsorption increased smoothly with the salt concentration. It is concluded that different forces come into play for adsorption on thiophilic gels at low and high salt concentration.