It has recently become possible to generate chimeric mice durably engrafted with many components of the human immune system (HIS mice). We have characterized the maturation and function of the B cell compartment of HIS mice. The antibody response of HIS mice to T cell-dependent B cell antigens is limited, and contributing factors may be the general immaturity of the B cell compartment, infrequent helper T cells selected on human MHC class II antigens, and incomplete reconstitution of secondary lymphoid organs and their microenvironments. In contrast, HIS mice generate protective antibody responses to the bacterium Borrelia hermsii, which acts as a T cell-independent antigen in mice, but do not respond to purified polysaccharide antigens (PPS). We speculate that the anti-B. hermsii response of HIS mice is derived from an abundant B cell subset that may be analogous to B1 B cells in mice. We suggest that failure of HIS mice to respond to PPS is due to the lack of a B cell subset that may originate from adult bone marrow and is highly dependent on human interleukin-7 for development.