CNS white matter from higher vertebrates and cultured differentiated oligodendrocytes are nonpermissive substrates for neurite growth and fibroblast spreading. Membrane proteins of 35 kd and 250 kd with highly nonpermissive substrate properties could be extracted from CNS myelin fractions. Monoclonal antibodies were raised against these proteins: IN-1 and IN-2 bound both to the 35 kd and 250 kd inhibitors and to the surface to differentiated cultured oligodendrocytes. Adsorption of nonpermissive CNS myelin or nonpermissive oligodendrocytes with either antibody markedly improved their substrate properties. Optic nerve explants injected with IN-1 or IN-2 allowed axon ingrowth of cocultured sensory and sympathetic neurons. We conclude that the nonpermissive substrate properties of CNS white matter are due to these membrane proteins on the surface of differentiated oligodendrocytes and to their in vivo product, myelin.