Human antibodies that inactivate coagulation factor VIII (fVIII), known as inhibitors, have been shown by immunoblotting or immunoprecipitation assays to bind predominantly to epitopes within the A2 and/or C2 domains of the fVIII protein. Because these assays simply measure antibody binding, a soluble recombinant polypeptide containing the fVIII A2 domain was used to develop a quantitative inhibitor neutralization assay for antibodies that bound only to A2 by immunoblotting assay. Antibodies from six of eight inhibitor plasmas were fully neutralized by A2 (> or = 90%), whereas two were only partially neutralized. These results established the fVIII inhibitor properties of anti-A2 antibodies. In immunoprecipitation assays, five of the eight inhibitors also had significant levels of anti-light-chain antibody. In one case, this light-chain antibody was shown to have inhibitor activity. Because it did not bind to the C2 domain, this antibody appears to define a new inhibitor epitope within the fVIII light chain. Another inhibitor, which was partially neutralized by A2, was not neutralized by the light chain, even though it contained anti- light-chain antibodies by immunoprecipitation assay. Our results show additional complexities of the immune response to fVIII.