Heat-stable opsonins from sera of patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) non-CF patients with chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection, healthy children, and adults were investigated for their ability to promote phagocytosis of 35S-labeled P. aeruginosa by human polymorphonuclear neutrophils. Healthy children had significantly lower levels of opsonic activity than adults. Sera from patients with CF without chronic P. aeruginosa lung infection showed significantly higher levels of opsonic activity compared to healthy children. Sera from patients with CF in the early stage of chronic infection had similar opsonic activity as non-CF patients with chronic infection. Sera from patients with CF in the late stage of chronic infection had higher opsonic activity than other infected patients, but not different from adult controls. An inverse correlation was found between levels of specific antibodies to P. aeruginosa and opsonic activity in the group of patients in a late stage of infection. An inverse correlation was also found between levels of IgG1 and IgG3 to P. aeruginosa St-Ag and opsonic activity during the late stage of infection. Infection with P. aeruginosa in CF did not induce significantly increased opsonic activity. It seems that antibodies to P. aeruginosa may have inhibitory opsonic activity.