The potential roles of specific antibodies of different immunoglobulin G (IgG) subclasses and IgE in serological diagnosis of cystic echinococcosis (CE) were investigated by an enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) based on Antigen 5 (Ag5). Presence of IgG1 was demonstrated in all sera from 58 patients with CE. The most discriminatory and specific antibodies found in this study belonged to IgG4 and IgE. Only one false-positive reaction was observed with IgG4 and no IgE cross-reactivity occurred with 40 sera from healthy controls. In 36 sera from patients infected with parasites other than CE two false-positive reactions with IgG4 were observed but none occurred with IgE. In immunoblotting, it was shown that IgG1 subclass was responsible for cross-reactivity of human antibodies that reacted with a 38 kDa subunit of Ag5. IgG4 and IgE antibodies could not recognize the 38 kDa subunit and under non-reducing conditions reacted with the 57 kDa subunit without any cross-reactivity to other parasites. The results demonstrated that IgG4 and IgE are the most important antibodies for serological diagnosis of hydatid cyst in an Ag5 based immunoassay system.