Multiple markers were used to count Langerhans' cells in the cervix. In the normal cervix, thymocyte antigen (T6) and adenosine triphosphatase (ATPase) demonstrated the largest population of Langerhans' cells. MHC Class II positive cells were equivalent to 60%, and S100 positive cells were equivalent to 35% of T6 or ATPase positive cells. Whereas Langerhans' cells demonstrated by T6, ATPase, and MHC Class II antigen were evenly distributed throughout the epithelium, the S100 positive cells were seen predominantly near lymphocytic aggregates and capillaries. In human papillomavirus infection and cervical intraepithelial neoplasia the numbers of T6, ATPase, or MHC Class II positive Langerhans' cells were reduced by 60% but the S100 positive cells were almost completely depleted. These findings suggested that there were different subpopulations of Langerhans' cells in the cervical epithelium. The depletion of Langerhans' cells, particularly the selective depletion of the S100 positive subpopulation, might cause a localized immunodeficiency that impairs immune surveillance and the cell-mediated immune response to human papillomavirus infection and cervical intraepithelial neoplasia.