Human H-ferritin homopolymer was denatured in sodium dodecyl sulphate and injected in mice to obtain antibodies for dissociated H-subunit. The antisera and Moabs obtained were specific for the denatured H-chain with no cross-reactivity with assembled ferritins in immunoblotting experiments. In contrast the Moabs for native recombinant H-ferritin are specific for the assembled ferritin molecules with weak cross-reactivity with the denatured H-subunits. The epitope recognized by one of the anti-denatured H-chain Moabs was mapped on the C-terminal helix of ferritin. The antibodies were used to study H-ferritin conformation in cells. In immunocytochemistry experiments the antibodies for denatured H-ferritin stained HeLa and K562 cells weakly, with a different intensity and pattern to those obtained with anti-native H-ferritin antibody. In human bone marrow smears the anti-denatured ferritin antibodies stained only reticuloendothelial cells, and did not recognize the H-ferritin rich immature erythroblasts. It is concluded that assembled and denatured H-ferritins are immunogenically distinct, and that erythroid and reticuloendothelial cells within the bone marrow contain H-ferritin in different conformations.