Behçet's disease (BD) is characterized by recurrent oral aphthae, skin lesions, eye lesions, and genital ulceration. To determine the pathogenesis of BD, we performed histological and immunohistochemical studies of these mucocutaneous lesions, an assay of neutrophil activity, and HLA typing. Dense dermal or subcutaneous infiltrations of polymorphonuclear cells (PMN) without leukocytoclastic vasculitis were found in 28 of 57 lesions. Immunohistochemically, deposits of C3 on the vessels were found in 12 of 31 lesions. Deposits of immunoglobulin were not found except for one of IgM. C3 deposits and PMN infiltrations were significantly related (p < 0.05). PMN activity by polarization was enhanced; however, the results did not show a significant relationship with the PMN infiltrations or the C3 deposits. The incidence of HLA-B51 was significantly high in BD, but no significant relationship was found between HLA-B51 and the results of other examinations. These results suggest that the pathogenesis of BD lesions differs from that of collagen diseases and that C3 deposits on the vessels may play an important role in the development of mucocutaneous lesions where PMN have mainly infiltrated.