We determined the half-lives of several sets of murine monoclonal antibodies spanning all immunoglobulin isotypes in the serum. The antibodies in each set possess the same V region. With this approach, the differences in half-life observed between the different isotypes are independent of the V region carried by the monoclonal antibodies and therefore must relate to each other in the same way as the half-lives of each class of serum immunoglobulins. The half-life of a monoclonal antibody of the gamma 2a isotype is identical to the average half-life of serum IgG2a as previously determined (6-8 days; P. Vieira and K. Rajewsky, Eur. J. Immunol. 1986. 16:871). Therefore, the half-lives determined with monoclonal antibodies possessing the same V region represent the half-life of the serum immunoglobulins. In this way we calculated the half-life of IgM as 2 days, IgG3 and IgG1 as 6-8 days, IgG2b has a half-life of 4-6 days. IgE has a half-life of 12 h. A polymeric form of IgA was found to be eliminated from the serum with a half-life of 17-22 h.