Panton Valentine leukocidin (PVL) may be responsible for pulmonary necrosis in necrotizing Staphylococcus aureus pneumonia, a highly lethal infection. Commercial intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) preparations containing antibodies against PVL might have therapeutic value in this setting, as an adjunct to antimicrobial chemotherapy. To test this possibility, we determined anti-PVL antibody titers in commercial IVIg and the capacity of IVIg to prevent the cytopathic effects of PVL in vitro. Specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays based on purified recombinant PVL (rPVL) showed that IVIg contained specific anti-PVL antibodies. The cytotoxicity of rPVL and of crude culture supernatants of PVL-producing S. aureus strains were investigated by measuring ethidium-bromide incorporation by polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMNs) in flow cytometric assays, as well as PMN ultrastructural changes by transmission electron microscopy. IVIg was found to neutralize pore formation and the cytopathic effect of both rPVL and S. aureus culture supernatants.