The present study analyzed peripheral blood B cell populations separated by IgD and CD27 expression in six males with X-linked hyper-IgM syndrome (XHIM). Costimulation of mononuclear cells from most of the patients induced no to low levels of class switching from IgM to IgG and IgA with Staphylococcus aureus Cowan strain (SAC) plus IL-2 or anti-CD40 mAb (anti-CD40) plus IL-10. Measurable levels of IgE were secreted in some of the patients after stimulation with anti-CD40 plus IL-4. Costimulation with SAC plus IL-2 plus anti-CD40 plus IL-10 yielded secretion of significant levels of IgG in addition to IgM, but not IgA. The most striking finding was that peripheral blood B cells from all of the six patients were composed of only IgD+ CD27(-) and IgD+ CD27(+) B cells; IgD- CD27(+) memory B cells were greatly decreased. IgD+ CD27(+) B cells from an XHIM patient produced IgM predominantly. Our data indicate that the low response of IgG production in XHIM patients is due to reduced numbers of IgD- CD27(+) memory B cells. However, the IgG production can be induced by stimulation of immunoglobulin receptors and CD40 in cooperation with such cytokines as IL-2 and IL-10 in vitro.