Groups of BALB/c mice were orally immunized with Chlamydia trachomatis serovar L2/434/Bu in order to characterize the nature and kinetics of the chlamydial antibody response in the cervix and other mucosal sites. These animals were subsequently challenged intravaginally to determine whether oral immunization offers protection against chlamydial antigen shedding in the genital tract. Following oral immunization, immunoglobulin A antibody activity was detected in the genital tract as well as other mucosal sites. Subsequent intravaginal challenges exhibited booster effects on preexisting antibody activity in the genital tract. Significant protection against challenge infection in the genital tract was observed by oral immunization. This was indicated by the absence of any chlamydial antigen shedding in cervical secretions. On the other hand, passively administered chlamydial-specific serum immunoglobulin G antibody did not significantly influence the course of cervical shedding of the organism and did not confer any protection against a subsequent intravaginal challenge. It is concluded that prior oral immunization can induce a secretory antibody response in the genital tract and provide protection against subsequent infection.