Vaccination with bacterins is an important tool for the control of Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae infection of pigs. Because such vaccination often involves piglets that have suckled M. hyopneumoniae antibody-positive dams it is important to understand the effect of pre-existing (passively acquired) antibody on vaccine-induced immunity. To investigate this issue experimentally, 20 sows that were seronegative for M. hyopneumoniae were selected from a M. hyopneumoniae-infected herd and then randomly allocated to one of four treatment groups (five sows/group): Group A, vaccinated sows/vaccinated piglets; Group B, vaccinated sows/non-vaccinated piglets; Group C, non-vaccinated sows/vaccinated piglets; Group D, non-vaccinated sows/non-vaccinated piglets. Sows (Groups A and B) were vaccinated 14 days before farrowing and seroconverted within the next 14 days. Conversely, none of the non-vaccinated sows was seropositive at farrowing. Piglets (Groups A and C) were vaccinated when they were 7 days of age. Regardless of treatments none of the piglets had any evidence of an active immune response until many of those of Groups A and C and a few of those of Groups B and D seroconverted after it had been shown that at least some pigs of all groups had been naturally infected with a field strain of M. hyopneumoniae. This pattern of immune responsiveness (i.e. the collective results of Groups A, B, C and D) suggested that vaccination of pigs had primed their immune system for subsequent exposure to M. hyopneumoniae, and that passively acquired antibody had little or no effect on either a vaccine-induced priming or a subsequent anamnestic response. According to the statistical analysis sow serological status did not interfere with the antibody response in early vaccinated piglets. In conclusion, the results pointed out that early vaccination of piglets may assist M. hyopneumoniae control independently from the serological status of sows.