The levels of IgA, IgG and IgM immunoconglutinins (IK) were assessed in sera from 20 patients with SLE which were followed for 8-month periods. At the time of the exacerbation, IgG IKs were significantly increased to 226 +/- 90 arbitrary units (mean +/- s.e.m.) compared with both the minimum value of 75 +/- 28 in the SLE patients and with 31 +/- 2 in healthy controls (P < 0.05). There was no difference between SLE patients and controls in the levels of IgM and IgA IKs. Most of the SLE patients in this material showed maximal IgG IK levels before exacerbation, but there was no correlation between the clinical disease index and the levels of IgG IK. The specificity of IgG IKs showed a broad diversity for microtitre-fixed C3b, iC3b, C3c and C3dg. The antibodies were of IgG1, IgG3 and in two patients, IgG4 subclass. IgG IKs were correlated to the C3d/C3 ratio which suggested that the IK responses were secondary to C3 activation. In summary, unlike other conditions associated with complement activation where elevated IgM IKs are common, an increase in IgG IK levels was observed. It is possible that this diverging IK response contributes to the pathophysiology of the disease.