Immunocytochemistry has been applied extensively to the diagnosis of intracranial tumours, but meningiomas still present a diagnostic problem. However, desmosomes have been shown by electron microscopy to be present in meningiomas, and this distinguishes them from gliomas. This paper describes a new monoclonal antibody, 11-5F, against desmosomal proteins 1 and 2 (desmoplakins) and assesses its usefulness in the diagnosis of meningiomas and other intracranial tumours. A total of 74 surgically removed intracranial tumours were examined by fluorescent antibody staining with 11-5F on frozen sections. In addition, a panel of antibodies against cytokeratin, vimentin, glial fibrillary acidic protein, and S100 protein was used. 11-5F stained 30/30 meningiomas and 14/14 metastatic carcinomas but 0/30 gliomas, thus distinguishing meningiomas and metastatic carcinomas from gliomas. The distinction between meningiomas and metastatic carcinomas on the basis of intermediate filaments staining was more difficult because neither the anticytokeratin nor the antivimentin antibody was specific for either tumour type. This study emphasizes the value of antidesmosomal antibodies as an important adjunct to the diagnosis of intracranial tumours.