There has been some evidence from several parasite systems that proteinases might have potential as protective antigens against parasitic infection. A cysteine proteinase complex identified in the regurgitant of adult F. hepatica was examined in this context. The thiol-cathepsin-related proteinases of M(r) 28,000 were purified and tested in vaccine trials of sheep infected with liver fluke. Ten animals were immunised with the purified proteinases and developed antibodies to the cysteine proteinases prior to challenge with F. hepatica metacercariae. Infection appeared to cause a boost in antibody response by Week 4 into infection, and antibody levels were generally sustained throughout infection. The cysteine proteinases are not novel antigens, since low-level antibody titres were also detected in nonimmunised controls by late infection. On completion of the trial, there was no difference in worm burden between the two groups. However, faecal egg counts and therefore worm fecundity were significantly decreased.