Immunoglobulin G, A, and M (IgG, IgA, and IgM) were purified from multiple sclerosis (MS) cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and sera and analyzed by two-dimensional electrophoresis. The light (L)-chains of MS CSF IgG were of limited diversity and dominated by about 30 major spots and many less intense spots. CSF IgG of patients with subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE) was dominated by 10 to 20 intense L-chain spots. L-chains from patients with fungal, syphilitic, and tuberculous infections of the central nervous system (CNS) ranged from 70 to in excess of 300 spots. The patterns of L-chains in MS CSF and autologous sera were different, indicating amplified synthesis of particular L-chains in MS CNS. Cathodic IgG fractions differing in isoelectric point by 0.1 to 0.3 pH units were isolated. SSPE CSF IgG fractions were dominated by a few L-chain spots, MS CSF fractions contained less than 20 spots, and MS serum fractions contained about 200 spots. MS CSF mu-chains were similar in isoelectric point range to serum but fractionated into discrete spots compared with a diffuse pattern in serum. MS CSF IgA alpha-chain spot overlapped in mobility with serum alpha-chains except a portion of the alpha-chain complex in CSF was shifted cathodically forming discrete spots. The CSF L-chains of both IgM and IgA were completely dissimilar to serum. These studies indicate major limited diversity and compartmentalized CNS synthesis of IgG, IgA, and IgM in MS. The restricted clonal pattern is proposed as consequent to B-cell stimulation by disease-related antigen(s) with limited epitope complexity. The dominance of a small number of L-chains supports results from idiotypic analysis suggesting finite clonal complexity of MS CSF IgG and indicates the feasibility of structural analysis of MS CSF L-chains, particularly amino acid sequence determinations.