Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) administration has been beneficially used for the treatment of a variety of autoimmune diseases including myasthenia gravis (MG). We have demonstrated that IVIG administration in experimental autoimmune MG (EAMG) results in suppression of disease that is accompanied by decreased Th1 cell and B cell proliferation. Chromatography of pooled human immunoglobulins (IVIG) on immobilized IgG, isolated from rats with EAMG or from MG patients, results in a depletion of the suppressive activity of the IVIG. Moreover, reconstitution of the activity-depleted IVIG with the eluted minute IVIG fractions that had been adsorbed onto the EAMG- or MG-specific columns recovers the depleted immunosuppressive activity. This study supports the notion that the therapeutic effect of IVIG is mediated by an antigen-specific anti-immunoglobulin (anti-idiotypic) activity that is essential for its suppressive activity.