Sera from 23 patients with acute Guillain Barré syndrome (GBS), 15 patients with chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (CIDP) and from 40 age-matched blood donors were analysed for antibodies to acidic glycosphingolipids from human brain and peripheral nerve. Antibodies to ganglioside LM1, the major ganglioside of peripheral nerve myelin. were found in 43% of GBS and in 67% of CIDP patients' sera, and in 20% of the blood donors. However, antisulphatide antibodies were detected in 65% and 87% of the sera from GBS and CIDP patients, respectively, but only in 15% of the control sera. Sulphatide is the major acidic glycosphingolipid in myelin and its concentration in peripheral nerve myelin is 100 times higher than that of LM1. The high frequency of LM1 and, in particular of sulphatide antibodies, might thus be relevant to the pathogenesis of the GBS and CIDP.