To investigate clonal variations of recombinant Chinese hamster ovary (rCHO) clones in response to culture pH and temperature, serum-free suspension cultures of two antibody-producing CHO clones (clones A and B), which were isolated from the same parental clone by the limiting dilution method, were performed in a bioreactor at pH values in the range of 6.8-7.6, and two different temperatures, 33 degrees C and 37 degrees C. In regard to cell growth, clone A and clone B displayed similar responses to temperature, although their degree of response differed. In contrast, clones A and B displayed different responses to temperature in regard to antibody production. In the case of clone A, no significant increase in maximum antibody concentration was achieved by lowering the culture temperature. The maximum antibody concentration obtained at 33 degrees C (pH 7.4) and 37 degrees C (pH 7.0) were 82.0 +/- 2.6 and 73.2 +/- 4.1 mu g/ml, respectively. On the other hand, in the case of clone B, an approximately 2.5-fold increase in maximum antibody concentration was achieved by lowering the culture temperature. The enhanced maximum antibody concentration of clone B at 33 degrees C (132.6 +/- 14.9 mu g/ml at pH 7.2) was due to not only enhanced specific antibody productivity but also to prolonged culture longevity. At 33 degrees C, the culture longevity of clone A also improved, but not as much as that of clone B. Taken together, CHO clones derived from the same parental clone displayed quite different responses to culture temperature and pH with regards antibody production, suggesting that environmental parameters such as temperature and pH should be optimized for each CHO clone.