The study of cerebral lesions of TSC by special histologic methods suggests that two populations of neurons and glia occur in TSC brains. One is a population of normally differentiated cells that form a normally constituted cortical plate. The other is a group of cells that are poorly differentiated, fail to organize into a normal cortical architecture, and form a variety of abnormal cellular aggregates in cortex and in subcortical locations. The proportion of these abnormal cells varies greatly from patient to patient. In some the central nervous system appears to be entirely spared. In others, only one or a few islands of dysplastic cells occur, whereas in still others a large number, perhaps even a majority, of neuroectodermal cells in the forebrain may be affected. The proportion of total cells that undergo abnormal differentiation apparently is an important factor relative to cortical function in TSC. At present we have no explanation for this marked heterogeneity in expression of the TSC gene or genes, and it remains one of the many unsolved mysteries of this illness.