Immunoassays for acidic ferritins rich in H subunits have shown that these isoferritins are predominant in some cells such as monocytes and red blood cells but have provided conflicting results about their presence in human serum. We have used an immunoradiometric assay based on a monoclonal antibody against human heart ferritin (monoclonal 2A4) for evaluating acidic ferritin concentration in human serum. This assay proved to be highly specific for acidic isoferritins having more than 60% H subunits. Heart-type ferritin was detected in only one fifth of normal sera and sera from patients with iron overload; values were very low compared with those for basic ferritin. Acidic ferritin was found in relatively high concentrations in most patients with iron deficiency anaemia. In other disease states characterized by increased serum concentrations of basic ferritin, acidic ferritin was always less than 21% of the total ferritin. Dialysis in low-ionic-strength buffer showed that both normal and pathological sera had binding factors for human heart ferritin. We conclude that: (i) human serum contains low concentrations of acidic isoferritins which, at variance with basic ferritin, do not appear to be directly related to the amount of storage iron; (ii) the findings of the present study reinforce the opinion that basic and acidic ferritins have different functional behaviours.