With recently developed radioimmunoassays, we have been able to study the levels and properties of IgG rheumatoid factor (IgG RF) and IgM rheumatoid factor (IgM RF) in patients with subacute bacterial endocarditis (SBE), as well as the relationship of these autoantibodies to circulating immune complexes. We found significantly elevated amounts of IgG RF and IgM RF in SBE sera. The IgG RF chromatographed on Sepharose 6B as an intermediate complex, indistinguishable from the pattern seen in rheumatoid arthritis. RF levels peaked later in the course of SBE than did levels of circulating immune complexes. With antibiotic treatment RF levels declined, although not as fast nor as completely as circulating immune complexes. These results suggest that both IgG RF and IgM RF in SBE may be part of a polyvalent antibody response to elevated levels of circulating immune complexes which do not themselves contain RF.