The profile of autoantibodies to four soluble cellular ribonucleoproteins nRNP, Sm Ro(SSA) and La(SSB) was determined using ELISA with immuno-affinity-purified antigens in a connective tissue disease population. Compared with immunodiffusion, results using ELISA showed greater sensitivity but lower specificity and low titres of antibodies were frequently found in the sera of patients with connective tissue diseases other than systemic lupus erythematosus. This was true even for antibodies to Sm which have been considered highly specific for SLE. Antibodies to these antigens were predominantly of the IgG class and were capable of fixing complement irrespective of the clinical context. As previously demonstrated by immunodiffusion strong associations between anti-nRNP and anti-Sm and between anti-Ro(SSA) and anti-La(SSB) were detected by ELISA, while antibodies to nRNP and to Ro(SSA) identify distinctive serological groups. The observation that certain antibodies are closely linked suggests a relationship between the immune responses to particular antigens, and this might be explained by biological links between the antigens.