Antibodies are essential in host defense against Neisseria meningitidis. Therefore, interactions among IgG and Fc receptors (Fc gamma R) on phagocytes may be crucial. Genetic polymorphic forms of Fc gamma RIIa (CD32) express different functional activities. In a retrospective study, Fc gamma R polymorphisms were determined in 25 children who survived fulminant meningococcal septic shock: 11 had Fc gamma RIIa-R/R131, the poor IgG2-binding allotype, which is a significantly more frequent rate than found in a healthy white population (44% vs. 23%; P = .028; odds ratio = 2.67; 95% confidence interval, 1.09-6.53). The relevance of this finding was further supported by the fact that neutrophils with the Fc gamma RIIa-R/R131 allotype phagocytized N. meningitidis opsonized with polyclonal IgG2 antibodies less effectively than did IIa-H/H131 neutrophils. Our findings suggest an important role for anti-N. meningitidis IgG2 and the Fc gamma RIIa polymorphism in host defense against systemic meningococcal infections.