We report on the results of a clinical trial in which 14 transplant candidates were treated with an extracorporeal immunoadsorption system using Protein A that selectively removes immunoglobulin from plasma; we also assessed the dynamics of anti-HLA antibody as a model of IgG removal and re-equilibration, as well as the clinical safety of the procedure. At the end of a treatment course, plasma IgG levels were reduced by 90% +/- 8% of control values (P less than 0.01). In contrast, albumin levels were reduced by only 15% (P less than 0.05). Specific cytotoxic anti-HLA antibody titers were reduced by approximately 18-fold. Panel reactivity was measured as the proportion of a 40-member cell donor panel killed by patients' serum in the presence of complement; in nine of the 14 patients, there was a significant reduction in this parameter (range, 23% to 87%). During the 4-week follow-up period, anti-HLA antibody titers returned to baseline levels. There were no remarkable changes observed in blood chemistries, nor were there any unanticipated adverse reactions seen in the patients treated. We conclude that selective extracorporeal immunoadsorption is a safe and effective way of removing IgG-type antibodies, with potential application to reduction of HLA antibodies in transplant candidates.