The capacity of Helicobacter pylori to induce strain specific immune responses was studied in adult Swedish volunteers. Sera and gastric aspirates from 11 H. pylori-infected subjects were tested for specific antibody levels against, respectively, lipopolysaccharides (LPS) and total membrane preparations (MPs) prepared from the study subjects' own strains, as well as with corresponding antigens from two reference H. pylori strains or heterologous strains collected from other subjects within the study. It was found that sera from five of the 11 subjects had significantly higher IgA antibody titres against LPS from the homologous strain than against LPS from either of the reference strains and in five cases sera reacted with higher IgG titres against the homologous LPS than with LPS preparations from the reference or heterologous patient strains. Analyses of specific titres against MPs revealed that six sera had higher IgA titres and four sera had higher IgG titres against MPs prepared from the subjects' own strains than against MPs from either of the two reference strains. Determination of specific antibodies in gastric aspirates revealed significantly higher IgA titres against LPS from the homologous H. pylori isolate than against LPS from the two reference strains in five cases, and six aspirates reacted in higher IgA titre with the homologous H. pylori MPs. Results from immunoblotting analyses of sera support induction of strain specific immune responses against H. pylori LPS. By means of specific monoclonal antibodies against H. pylori LPS, antigenic heterogeneity between the different LPS preparations tested was confirmed.