A sensitive immunochemical method was developed for the detection of glycosphingolipids on thin-layer chromatograms. The procedure involves oxidation of diol groups of glycosphingolipids with sodium periodate, derivatization of the formed aldehyde groups with digoxigenin-hydrazide, and reaction of the bound digoxigenin with an alkaline phosphatase-labeled polyclonal anti-digoxigenin antibody. The latter is detected by an insoluble indigo-like dye as a result of dephosphorylation of 5-bromo-4-chloro-3-indolyl phosphate. The detectability of all glycosphingolipid species was improved over that of the orcinol and resorcinol staining methods. Two nanograms of the standard gangliosides GM1, GD1A, and GT1 was detected, whereas the detection limit for short-chain neutral glycosphingolipids was in the range of 20-50 ng. Long-chain glycosphingolipids were detectable with a particularly high sensitivity. Selective staining of the gangliosides could be achieved by the use of low periodate concentrations.