The Leuven cytogenetic centre experience on pericentric inversion in man is discussed with exclusion of the pericentric inversions of the heterochromatic blocks of chromosomes 1 and 9. In a total of 51,500 patients, referred for constitutional chromosome analysis during the period 1970-1985, pericentric inversions were found in 24 index patients. The breakpoints detected in these different pericentric inversions are summarized and compared to those found in previous reports. Bands 2p13, 2q21, 5q31, 6q21, 10q22, and 12q13 were shown to be repeatedly involved in the different studies and, furthermore, breakpoints at bands 2q11, 5p13, 5p15, 5q13, 7q11, 11q25, and 14p11 were present in this study as well as in our previous review on reciprocal autosomal translocations. In 13 familial pericentric inversions, even after exclusion of all inversion carrier probands, a 1.6:1 excess of pericentric inversion carriers versus karyotypically normal progeny was observed. While chromosomally unbalanced offspring represent 3.5% of all chromosomally investigated liveborns of the present study, 7.1% of all liveborn inversion carrier offspring presented with a mental retardation and/or multiple congenital anomalies (MR/MCA) problem. Additional chromosomal abnormalities, i.e. a 21 trisomy and an accessory small ring chromosome were observed in two pericentric inversion carriers. These data and results are discussed and compared to the data available in the literature.