Human reproductive tracts represent components of the mucosal immune system with unique features. Although secretory IgA is present, IgG is more abundant, and typical mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue for generating common mucosal immune responses is absent. Antibody responses to genital infections or to locally applied vaccines are usually modest, but alternative strategies for eliciting genital tract antibodies are being developed. © 2002 Éditions scientifiques et médicales Elsevier SAS. All rights reserved.