Trophic factors, such as NGF, regulate survival and differentiation of many classes of neurons by binding specific receptors. Two types of NGF receptors have been identified, which bind NGF with low and high affinity. The latter mediates the major biological actions of NGF. To determine the relationship between these two receptor types, polyclonal antibodies to the low affinity receptor have been prepared and used in ligand-binding, ligand-cross-linking, and biological assays. These antibodies eliminated binding of NGF to low affinity receptors and to one class of high affinity receptors, but did not prevent binding to a second class of high affinity receptors. The same antibodies did not inhibit NGF-stimulated neuronal survival or neurite outgrowth. Thus, a biologically important class of high affinity NGF receptors is antigenically distinct from the low affinity receptor and may be encoded by a novel gene.