Streptococcus pneumoniae is a major human pathogen which expresses more than 90 serologically distinct capsular polysaccharides (PS) on the surface. Since pneumococcal PSs elicit protective antibodies against pneumococcal diseases, it is important to identify the immunological epitope eliciting anti-pneumococcal PS antibodies. L-rhamnose is a part of the 23F PS repeating unit and is known to be a critical part of immunodominant epitope which elicits antibodies against pneumococcal serotype 23F PS. In order to determine if L-rhamnose is a part of epitope recognized by functional antibodies specific for serotype 23F PS in human serum samples, we evaluated the opsonophagocytic killing of serotype 23F pneumococci by serum antibodies specific for L-rhamnose. Using 10 mM L-rhamnose, opsonic capacities (opsonic indices) of serum antibodies were inhibited by 60% in 19 sera (36%) and 30-60% in 16 sera (30%) out of 53 sera from young and old adults immunized with 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV23). Interestingly, when IgM antibodies were depleted from immune sera in order to preferentially study IgG antibodies, the proportion of young adult sera showing more than 60% inhibition in opsonic capacity by 10 mM of L-rhamnose increased from 33% (11/31) to 68% (21/31). On the other hand, IgM depletion did not alter the proportion for old adult sera. Therefore, young and old adults may produce different antigen binding profiles of IgG antibodies against serotype 23F PS. © 2013 Park Nahm.