A cytolytic enterotoxin of molecular weight 52,000 was isolated and purified from culture supernatants of a human diarrheal isolate (SSU) of Aeromonas hydrophila. The toxin reacted with cholera antitoxin when tested in an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and by Western blot (immunoblot) analysis. The appearance of cytotoxic and hemolytic activities in culture supernatant occurred simultaneously 8 h after the initial inoculation of the culture. Loss of hemolytic activity and cholera toxin cross-reactivity was correlated with heat and pH inactivation. Homologous antibodies neutralized the cytotoxic and hemolytic activities associated with the toxin, but cholera antitoxin did not neutralize these activities. The toxin also possessed enterotoxic activity as demonstrated by fluid accumulation in rabbit ligated intestinal loops. When purified cytolytic enterotoxin was injected intravenously into mice, death occurred within 2 min, whereas mice injected with whole cells or sonicated cell fragments died after several hours or days. Results from 51Cr release experiments demonstrated that the cytolytic enterotoxin had significant membrane-damaging capability. These results indicated that the cytolytic and enterotoxic activities expressed by the described A. hydrophila toxin may contribute significantly to the pathogenesis of disease associated with A. hydrophila.