Some strains of Campylobacter jejuni react with more than one reference antiserum from the serotyping scheme based on heat-stable lipopolysaccharide antigens. To investigate the molecular basis of these cross-reactions, lipopolysaccharides from the reference strains for serotypes 4, 13, 16, 43, and 50 and isolates recovered during two different outbreaks of C. jejuni enteritis were analyzed by passive haemagglutination and sodium dodecyl sulphate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis coupled with silver staining or immunoblotting. The results showed that lipopolysaccharides from the reference strains and the isolates reacted with antisera prepared against heterologous strains in various combinations and that both silver-stainable, low Mr and non-silver-stainable, high Mr lipopolysaccharide components provided the antigenic determinants associated with the cross-reactions. There were strain-to-strain differences in the structural and antigenic properties of these macromolecules and shared antigenic determinants were not always provided by a common structure. Analysis of the silver-stained lipopolysaccharide profiles, outer membrane protein patterns, and chromosomal DNA restriction patterns indicated that strains with the same lipopolysaccharide profile could have the same outer membrane protein pattern and the same DNA restriction pattern. These results provided evidence for the presence of clones within this antigenic complex and implicated antigenic variation in some strains as the phenomenon responsible for the multiplicity of cross-reactions.