Polyspecific antibodies present in ascitic fluids of mice (pMIAFs) immunized with whole Borrelia burgdorferi cells exerted borreliacidal activity in vitro when tested with complement and homologous antigen but not with heterologous B. hermsii. Similarly, monospecific mouse antibodies obtained by immunizing mice with purified preparations of outer surface protein A and B of B. burgdorferi were borreliacidal. On the contrary, mouse monospecific antibodies raised against the 41-kDa flagellar protein of B. burgdorferi did not kill borreliae in the presence of complement. A complement-mediated, in vitro, borreliacidal activity was observed in human sera from patients with Lyme disease when antibodies against OspA and/or OspB were detectable in sera by the Western blotting technique. The in vitro borreliacidal activity of human sera was evident after 14 h incubation with live B. burgdorferi spirochaetes and complement, whereas antibodies present in mouse immune ascitic fluids killed borreliae after 1 h incubation.