We compared the humoral immune response of mice protected against Schistosoma mansoni by vaccination with radiation-attenuated cercariae to that of patently infected mice, and we identified antigens that elicit a greater, or unique, immune response in the vaccinated mice. These comparisons were based upon radioimmunoprecipitations and immunodepletion of [35S]methionine-labeled schistosomular and adult worm polypeptides, followed by one- and two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel analyses. The humoral responses of patently infected mice and of mice vaccinated once were remarkably similar and were directed against schistosome glycoproteins ranging in molecular size from greater than 300 to less than 10 kDa. Exposing mice to a second vaccination resulted in a marked change in the immune response, to one predominantly directed toward high molecular size glycoproteins. Sequential immunodepletion techniques identified five schistosomular and seven adult worm antigens that showed a greater or unique immunogenicity in vaccinated mice as compared with patently infected mice. These adult worm antigens were purified by preparative sequential immunoaffinity chromatography and used to prepare a polyclonal antiserum, anti-irradiated vaccine. This antiserum bound to the surface of live newly transformed and lung-stage schistosomula, as assessed by immunofluorescence assays, and was reactive with a number of 125I-labeled schistosomular surface polypeptides, including a doublet of 150 kDa that was also recognized by sera of vaccinated mice but not by sera of patently infected mice.