Soybean asthma, which occurred as an epidemic among patients in Barcelona, Spain, is associated with specific IgE to soybean hull allergens. The purpose of this study was to investigate the possible role of specific IgG, IgG subclasses, IgA, and IgM in the pathogenesis of soybean asthma. We studied 3 groups of subjects from Barcelona: group 1, 12 asthmatic epidemic patients; group 2, 23 asthmatic nonepidemic patients; and group 3, 32 nonallergic subjects. Specific IgE was determined by radioimmunoassay and specific IgG, IgG subclasses (1, 2, 3, and 4), IgA, and IgM by amplified enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Cross-inhibition studies were performed for specific IgE and IgG4. We partially characterized the soybean hull allergens that bind specific IgE, IgG, and IgG4 by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis/Western blot. Percentage of positive results for the assays of the 8 Igs are as follows: for group 1, 100% (IgE), 75% (IgG), 16.6% (IgG1), 8.3% (IgG2), 0% (IgG3), 66.6% (IgG4), 25% (IgA), and 25% (IgM); for group 2, 4.3% were positive for specific IgE only; and for group 3, 0% (IgE), 0% (IgG), 6.2% (IgG1), 9.4% (IgG2), 9.4% (IgG3), 9.4% (IgG4), 6.2% (IgA), and 6.2% (IgM). The correlation between the specific IgE and the other specific Igs was significant between IgE and IgG4 in group 1 only (r=0.752, p<0.01). Cross-inhibition studies demonstrated a higher inhibitory capacity for IgG4 than for IgE. Sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis/Western blot demonstrates three low molecular weight protein bands that bind specific IgE, IgG, and IgG4. This study suggests that specific IgG4 to soybean hull allergens plays a role in the pathogenesis of soybean asthma and corroborates the role of specific IgE in the same disease.