Entamoeba histolytica is a protozoan parasite that causes amoebiasis in humans; as the infection occurs mainly in the intestinal epithelium, the secretory immune response of the host could have an influence on the outcome. Secretory IgA antibodies against E. histolytica have been detected in asymptomatic and symptomatic patients, but little is known about their protective role. E. histolytica cysteine proteases seem to be involved in the pathogenesis of amoebiasis; therefore, it is important to evaluate the human IgA response against these proteases and its effect on their enzymatic activity. When human saliva samples with and without antibodies against E. histolytica were tested by Western blot against one purified 70 kDa amoebic cysteine protease, 84% of anti-amoeba-positive samples recognized it. The secretory IgA purified from a pool of anti-protease-positive samples had a strong in vitro inhibitory effect on the E. histolytica proteolytic activity. These results suggest that this effect, if it occurs in vivo, could be an important protective factor against this parasite.