The influence of empty porcine parvovirus (PPV) particles on viral replication was examined in cell cultures and in swine. Following extensive purification, homogenous preparations of full and empty PPV preparations were obtained and used for in vitro and in vivo analyses. In the first in vitro experiment, swine testes cells were infected with mixtures of various ratios of empty and full (E/F) particles. The production of both intracellular and extracellular virus was markedly inhibited in the presence of empty particles. This inhibition was dependent upon the concentration of empty particles present in the mixture. In the second in vitro study, various concentrations of empty particles were added prior to full virus infection. Again, marked inhibition of progeny virus production was evident and related to the concentrations of empty particles added. Based on the results of in vitro studies, the influence of empty particles on PPV infection in swine was tested by infecting mid-term and late-term gestation swine fetuses with various E/F particle ratios. Both mid-term and late-term fetuses exposed to 0:1, 1:1 and 5:1 E/F ratios displayed gross pathological evidence of PPV infection whereas fetuses exposed to E/F ratios of 30:1 or greater were grossly normal in appearance. However, fetuses infected with 30:1, 50:1 and 300:1 E/F ratios showed evidence of virus in their tissues by DNA hybridization. Regardless of the E/F ratios, late-term infected fetuses responded with high antibody titers ranging from 1024 to 4096. The results from these studies suggested that empty particles interfered with viral replication in both cell culture and in animals.