To evaluate the immunogenicity of purified recombinant envelope glycoprotein of HIV-1 (rgp120) as a potential vaccine for AIDS, the antibody response of 45 baboons to rgp120 was investigated using an adjuvant (alum) and route of administration (intramuscular) suitable for humans. The primary purpose was to evaluate the effects of different doses and immunization schedules on the antibody response to rgp120 in primates. A secondary objective was to evaluate possible adverse consequences of rgp120 immunization. A liquid-phase radioimmunoprecipitation (RIP) assay for detection of rgp120-reactive antibodies revealed that rgp120 doses of 30-300 micrograms per administration resulted in nearly indistinguishable serum antibody responses. However, significant enhancement of serum antibody titers was observed when the interval between the second and third administrations was increased from 4 to 20 w. Although changing the interval significantly altered the magnitude of resulting peak titers, the kinetics of antibody formation were not changed. Thus, of the three schedules of immunization tested, none resulted in a sustained humoral immune response. The significance of the RIP assay for evaluating immune responses was confirmed by analysis showing that the percentage of immunized baboons that developed in vitro HIV-1 serum neutralizing responses was greatest in groups that also exhibited high anti-rgp120 RIP titers. Immunization with rgp120 had no significant adverse effect on any clinical or laboratory parameter monitored over the course of the study.