Two types of IgG FcR, FcRI and FcRII, are constitutively expressed by human monocytes. FcRI (identified by mAb 32.2) binds human (h) IgG, FcRII (identified by mAb IV.3) has a low affinity for hIgG but interacts strongly with murine (m) IgG1. These receptors can be assayed by using indicator E sensitized by hIgG (EA-hIgG) or mIgG1 (EA-mIgG1), respectively. We further characterized these two FcR by modulation studies by using substrate-immobilized immune complexes containing rabbit IgG, goat IgG, or one of the mouse Ig classes or subclasses. After incubating monocytes in microtiter wells containing such immune complexes, binding of the two types of indicator red cells on the apical surface of the monocytes was quantitated using a photometric assay employing the pseudoperoxidase activity of E. No effect on the binding of sensitized E was observed after incubation of monocytes with immune complexes containing mouse IgE, IgA, or IgM, or F(ab')2 fragments of rabbit IgG. High concentrations of immune complexes containing IgG of mouse, rabbit, or goat, however, were able to induce a decrease in binding of both types of sensitized E, suggestive of modulation of both FcRI and FcRII. At lower concentrations of immune complexes, more selective patterns of modulation emerged. Under these conditions, immune complexes containing mIgG1 or mIgG2b, or, surprisingly, goat IgG induced a selective decrease in the binding of EA-mIgG1 (FcRII modulation), while immune complexes containing mIgG2a or rabbit IgG mainly affected the binding of EA-hIgG (FcRI modulation). By using anti-FcR mAb IV.3, it was confirmed that FcRII was modulated from the apical surface of monocytes after incubation on immune complex coated substrates. Selectivity of FcR-modulation was demonstrated by showing that under these conditions binding of anti-C receptor mAb, and several other anti-monocyte mAb did not decrease.