An important problem in the management of infective endocarditis has been the delineation of laboratory procedures that are sensitive, reliable indicators of therapeutic efficacy. Because circulating, complement-containing immune complexes of the IgG type (CICs) have been demonstrated in most humans with infective endocarditis, serum CIC levels during the natural course of the infection and in response to penicillin therapy were studied in 42 rabbits with right-sided endocarditis due to Streptococcus salivarius. A significant rise in the level of CICs in both 21 control rabbits and 21 treated rabbits was observed after induction but before treatment of infective endocarditis (P less than 0.01). In the 17 successfully treated rabbits, CIC levels fell sharply during the first week of therapy and remained at preinduction levels thereafter (P less than 0.005). In contrast, CIC values did not change significantly either in control animals or in the four treated animals with refractory endocarditis, although in the latter animals, serum bactericidal titers remained less than or equal to 1:32. These findings suggest that serial measurements of CIC levels during antimicrobial therapy of infective endocarditis may aid in monitoring therapeutic efficacy.