The aim of this study was to deplete baboons of anti-αgalactosyl (αGal] antibody and attempt to maintain depletion by pharmacologic immunosuppressive therapy (PI). In 12 experiments, involving nine baboons, repeated extracorporeal immunoadsorption (EIA) was carried out by plasma perfusion through immunoaffinity columns of synthetic αGal trisaccharide type 6. Five of the baboons were immunologically naive and four had undergone various procedures at least 6 months previously. All, however, had recovered lymphohematopoietic function and (with one exception) had levels of anti- αGal antibody within the normal range. Eleven protocols included continuous i.v. cyclosporine (to maintain whole blood levels of approximately 1,600 ng/ml). In addition, in ten protocols, the baboon received one or more of the following drugs: cyclophosphamide (1-20 mg/kg/day), mycophenolate mofetil (70-700 mg/kg/day), brequinar sodium (1-12 mg/kg/day), prednisolone (1 mg/kg/day), melphalan (0.15-0.6 mg/kg/day), methylprednisolone (125 mg/day x3), and antilymphocyte globulin (ATG) (50 mg/kg/day x3). EIA was carried out on 1-9 occasions in each study and was temporarily successful in removing all antibody. When no PI was administered, antibody returned close to pre-EIA levels within 48 hr. Cyclosporine alone delayed the rate of antibody return only slightly. While EIA was continuing on a daily or alternate day schedule, antibody levels (both IgM and IgG) were maintained at 20-45% of pre-EIA levels. Once EIA was discontinued but PI maintained, IgM rose to 40-90% and IgG to 30-60% of pre-EIA levels. In vitro testing demonstrated significant cytotoxicity to pig cells at these antibody levels. We conclude that i) EIA utilizing columns of αGal trisaccharide is successful in temporarily depleting baboons of anti-αGal antibody, but ii) none of the PI regimens tested suppressed antibody production to levels which would be expected to prevent antibody-mediated rejection of pig xenografts. Additional strategies will therefore be required if xenotransplantation is to become a clinical reality.