This study determined the influence of serum neutralizing antibody titers on infection rate, symptom manifestations, and provoked signs and pathophysiologies in adults experimentally exposed to rhinovirus type 39 (RV- 39). Antibody status was determined for 151 healthy volunteers who were then cloistered in a hotel for 6 days. At the end of the first cloister day, the volunteers were challenged with RV-39 in a median tissue culture infective dose of 100. On each of the 6 days, a nasal examination was performed, symptoms were scored, and objective tests of nasal mucociliary function, nasal airway patency, secretion production, and middle ear pressures were completed. Both subjects and investigators were blinded to the prechallenge serum homotypic antibody titers of the subjects. Four subjects presented with a wild virus and were excluded from the analysis. Of the 147 included subjects, prechallenge serum antibody titers to RV-39 were low (under 2) in 56 subjects, intermediate (2 to 8) in 51 subjects, and high (above 16) in 40 subjects. The high-titer group was significantly different from the low- titer group with respect to viral shedding, symptom load, subjective extent of illness, and secretion production, as well as in the frequency of subjects with abnormal nasal mucociliary clearance and positive middle ear pressures. The study results document that for experimental RV-39 exposure, high levels of homotypic serum neutralizing antibody titers are associated with protection from infection and a lessened degree of disease expression, but not with a reduction of otologic complications.