Total non-acid glycosphingolipids were isolated from plasma of an A1 Le(a-b+) secretor individual with Refsum's disease (phytanic acid storage disease). The glycolipids were separated into 11 fractions by open column chromatography and by HPLC. The fractions were analyzed by thin-layer chromatography and tested for different blood group A activities as well as blood group Le(a )and Leb activity. The fractions were structurally characterized by proton NMR spectroscopy and FAB mass spectrometry and in selected cases by EI mass spectrometry of the permethylated and permethylated-reduced derivatives. Degradation analysis was performed on partially permethylated or permethylated-reduced alditol acetates. The dominating blood group compound was found to be a blood group A active type 1 chain difucosylheptaglycosylceramide. Other blood group compounds were identified as a blood group A active type 1 chain monofucosylhexaglycosylceramide, a blood group Leb hexaglycosylceramide, a blood group H active type 1 chain pentaglycosylceramide, and a globotetraosylceramide (the P-antigen). The presence of a Le(a) glycosphingolipid and blood group A type 3/4 chain structures were also found by immunostaining. Glucosyl-, lactosyl-, and globotriaosylceramides were the dominating short chain compounds. The amount of phytanic acid incorporated into the monoglycosylceramide fraction was found to be less than 5% of the fatty acids.