Neurofibromas, the hallmark of neurofibromatosis 1, are composed mainly of Schwann cells and fibroblasts. Inactivation of both NF1 alleles is the cause of these benign tumors, but it is unknown which cell type is the progenitor. In this study, we selectively cultured Schwann cells from an NF1-associated neurofibroma. Fibroblasts were also obtained by culturing the tumor cells under standard conditions. Using four intragenic markers, we genotyped the NF1 locus in the original tumor and in the derived Schwann cells and fibroblasts. Loss of heterozygosity for two informative markers, which indicates loss of one NF1 allele, was found in Schwann cells but not in fibroblasts. This result suggests that genetic alterations of the NF1 gene in Schwann cells are responsible for the development of neurofibromas.