We compared two recombinant alpha-galactosidases developed for enzyme replacement therapy for Fabry disease, agalsidase alfa and agalsidase beta, as to specific alpha-galactosidase activity, stability in plasma, mannose 6-phosphate (M6P) residue content, and effects on cultured human Fabry fibroblasts and Fabry mice. The specific enzyme activities of agalsidase alfa and agalsidase beta were 1.70 and 3.24 mmol h(-1) mg protein(-1), respectively, and there was no difference in stability in plasma between them. The M6P content of agalsidase beta (3.6 mol/mol protein) was higher than that of agalsidase alfa (1.3 mol/mol protein). The administration of both enzymes resulted in marked increases in alpha-galactosidase activity in cultured human Fabry fibroblasts, and Fabry mouse kidneys, heart, spleen and liver. However, the increase in enzyme activity in cultured fibroblasts, kidneys, heart and spleen was higher when agalsidase beta was used. An immunocytochemical analysis revealed that the incorporated recombinant enzyme degraded the globotriaosyl ceramide accumulated in cultured Fabry fibroblasts in a dose-dependent manner, with the effect being maintained for at least 7 days. Repeated administration of agalsidase beta apparently decreased the number of accumulated lamellar inclusion bodies in renal tubular cells of Fabry mice.