Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) preparations are increasingly used for therapy of several neuroimmunologic diseases. IVIg therapy is considered safe, although serious side effects like aseptic meningitis, cerebral vasospasm, or ischemic encephalopathy have been reported. These side effects are frequently associated with neutrophilic pleocytosis in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), suggesting a neutrophil-mediated mechanism. To elucidate the potential role of neutrophil activation, we analyzed IVIg preparations from 5 different commercial sources for the presence of antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA)-like immunoglobulins against ethanol-fixed peripheral-blood neutrophils, purified human antigens, and a panel of human and nonhuman tissues. All IVIg batches tested (n = 13) contained atypical ANCAs (IgG titer up to 1:2048, IgA up to 1:512). Moreover, all preparations were capable of inducing hydrogen peroxide production in TNFalpha-primed human neutrophils, with a significant correlation (P < .005) between atypical ANCA titers in IVIg preparations and neutrophil activation. Fc-mediated binding and activation was ruled out by the use of IVIg-F(ab')(2) fragments. Our findings strongly suggest that in vivo activation of TNFalpha-primed neutrophils by atypical ANCAs of IVIg may contribute to the side effects of IVIg therapy and for the first time demonstrate that the activation of neutrophil granulocytes by IVIg occurs in an Fc receptor (FcR)-independent, hence antigen-dependent, way.