Purified type 1 somatic pili from enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) strain H10407 (O78:H11) was evaluated as a parenteral immunizing agent in the hope that this antigen might enhance a contemplated polyvalent pilus vaccine. Intramuscular inoculation with 45, 90, 900 or 1 800 mcg of pili vaccine was tolerated without incident in 82 volunteers. Six of 15 persons who received a 28 day booster of 1 800 mcg developed local reactions while none of 52 persons receiving 180 or 450 mcg boosters evinced such reactions. Pili vaccine did not significantly alter intestinal transit time, absorptive capacity or the prevalence of colonic E. coli bearing type 1 somatic pili of the H10407 antigenic variety. All vaccinees developed significant rises in circulating IgG antibody to type 1 somatic pili, the magnitude of the response being directly proportioned to the vaccine dose. None of the vaccinees had significant rises to CFA I or II pili nor to heat-labile enterotoxin. However, many had rises in O antibody, particularly among those inoculated with 1 800 mcg. Three challenge studies were carried out with E. coli H10407 to assess vaccine efficacy. In the initial study the vaccinees were either protected against diarrhea (2 of 6 vaccinees versus 7/7 of controls) or had milder disease than the controls. In two subsequent challenges with H10407 significant protection was not seen. It was not clear whether protection exhibited by the vaccinee group in the first challenge was due to O antibody, pili antibody, or both acting synergistically. To clarify this, a group of the immunized volunteers were challenged with ETEC strain B7A which is a different serotype (O148:H28) lacks CFA/I or II pili, but possesses type 1 somatic pili antigenically distantly related to those of H10407. Attack rates and severity of illness were similar in both vaccinee and control groups. While most volunteers challenged with E. coli H10407 developed significant rises in circulating antibody to CFA/I, LT and O antigen, none had rises to type 1 somatic pili. It is unclear if this is due to immune tolerance to this antigen when encountered enterally or whether these pili are not present in vivo in ETEC initiating diarrhea in the proximal small intestine. In summary, parenterally inoculated type 1 somatic pili were safe and highly immunogenic in man but did not consistently induce protection. Further studies are planned to clarify the role of antibody to type 1 somatic pili in mediating protection.