Among a panel of monoclonal antibodies generated against monkey brain tissue, a class of antibodies was found to produce perineuronal staining of small subsets of mammalian central neurons. Three antibodies (MAbs 473, 376, 528) we report here define two different, though partially overlapping, neuronal subsets in the monkey neocortex. All 3 antibodies stain in addition certain chondrocytes. The neural immunoreactivities were lost, and the chondral immunoreactivities either lost or enhanced, after treatment of the sections with chondroitinase ABC. Independently, 3 other antibodies (MAbs 1B5, 9A2, 3B3) with established specificity to glycosaminoglycan epitopes also produced perineuronal staining of a related subset of central neurons. Immunoblot experiments with two of the antibodies revealed bands of high molecular weight. These findings indicate that certain glycosaminoglycans occur surrounding mammalian central neurons, and suggest that different neuronal subsets are associated with different combinations of proteoglycan epitopes.