Serum and plasma from patients with active systemic lupus erythematosus contain a specific inhibitor of complement (C5)-derived chemotactic activity. We found that the inhibitor is antigenically related to the Bb fragment of complement factor B. Lupus plasma and purified inhibitor significantly reduced the chemotactic activity of zymosan-treated normal serum, an effect that was abolished by antibodies to factor B. Similar results were obtained when purified Bb was used. Neither purified inhibitor nor Bb inhibited the chemotactic activity of purified human C5a or C5a des Arg. As reported previously, the chemotactic activity of C5a des Arg was enhanced significantly by the addition of an anionic polypeptide (cochemotaxin) present in normal serum and plasma. Interestingly, both purified lupus inhibitor and Bb inhibited the chemotactic activity exhibited by mixtures of C5a des Arg and its cochemotaxin. This effect was due, most likely, to their ability to neutralize the enhancing effect of the cochemotaxin on the chemotactic activity of C5a des Arg. Immunoelectrophoresis and western blots revealed that the purified inhibitor reacted with anti-factor B and exhibited a similar charge and molecular weight as purified Bb.