Helicobacter pylori infection is strongly associated with histologic gastritis and peptic ulcer disease. Broth culture supernatants from a subset of H. pylori strains induce vacuolization in cultured cells, a phenomenon that has been attributed to cytotoxin activity. Concentrated culture supernatants from 15 of 28 (53.6%) H. pylori strains tested induced vacuolization in HeLa cells in titers ranging from 1:10 to 1:180. Sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and silver staining of supernatants from these 28 strains and 2 control strains demonstrated an 82-kilodalton (kDa) protein band in 3 of 16 supernatants with vacuolizing activity, but in none of 14 supernatants without vacuolizing activity. By immunoblotting with human sera, a 128-kDa band was recognized in all 16 supernatants with vacuolizing activity, compared with 9 of 14 (64%) supernatants without vacuolizing activity (P = 0.014). Serologic recognition of the 128-kDa band in H. pylori culture supernatants was more prevalent among persons infected with vacuolizing H. pylori strains than among persons infected with nonvacuolizing strains, but the difference was not statistically significant (80 versus 45%; P = 0.079); human serologic recognition of the 82-kDa band was less common. The 128-kDa band was recognized by 100% of 31 serum samples from H. pylori-infected patients with duodenal ulcer disease, compared with 60.8% of 74 serum samples from H. pylori-infected persons without peptic ulcer disease (P = 0.0001). These data indicate that antigenic 128- and 82-kDa proteins are present in H. pylori broth culture supernatants with vacuolizing activity and that serologic responses to the 128-kDa protein are more prevalent among H. pylori-infected persons with duodenal ulceration than among infected persons without peptic ulceration.