The intermediate product EAC1-7 released hemoglobin when incubated with high concentrations of GPC8 in the absence of C9. The reaction failed to reach an end point within 8 hr at 37 degrees C, and analysis of the kinetics indicated that it did not conform to the one-hit theory of immune hemolysis, and was not, therefore, the result of C9 contamination of the C8 preparation. The release of 86Rb from labeled EAC1-7 incubated at 30 degrees C with limiting C8 and excess C9 was paralleled, within 5 to 10 min, by release of hemoglobin. In the absence of C9 and with higher concentrations of C8, 86Rb was released rapidly, but hemoglobin release was delayed for several hours. Addition of excess C9 to concentrations of C8, which did not alone cause 86Rb release, resulted in substantial release of the isotope. These observations indicate that C9 acts by producing a distinct lesion in the cell membrane rather than by accelerating the release of hemoglobin from the C8-initiated 86Rb-releasing lesions. It is concluded that 86Rb release cannot be used as a reliable indicator of cell lysis and that C8- and C8/C9-mediated hemolysis are the result of mechanistically different processes.