In addition to the free form, IgA is associated with cellular and noncellular elements present in human colostrum. To resolve the existing controversy as to the cell type(s) containing IgA, we used immunoelectron microscopy with horseradish peroxidase-labeled F(ab′)2 or Fab′ fragments of anti-IgA or anti-IgM to determine the distribution of these immunoglobulins in colostral elements. IgA and IgM were localized in phagocytic vacuoles of polymorphonuclear leukocytes and macrophages in the vicinity of the cell membrane. In neutrophilic leukocytes, both immunoglobulins were occasionally found in phagocytic vacuoles distributed throughout the cytoplasm. Although the in vitro phagocytic activity of colostral cells was low, they retained the ability to ingest colloidal gold particles which were subsequently localized in phagocytic vacuoles that also contained IgA or IgM. IgA and IgM were not detected in lymphocytes, and plasma cells were not found in human colostrum. Numerous noncellular colostral globules of various shapes and sizes also contained IgA and IgM. These observations indicate that IgA and IgM were acquired by phagocytic cells and noncellular globules and were not actively synthesized by lymphoid cells present in human colostrum. © 1983 Plenum Publishing Corporation.