The 'immunological profile' of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients was established from standard tests for B- and T-cell function. This showed no significant difference from age and sex-matched other neurological (CNS) disease controls and normal subjects. Immune complex (IC) levels in ALS serum differed significantly from normal controls but not from CNS controls. There was no relation between the various indices of immune activity of IC levels and the clinical disability of the ALS patient or progression of the disease. Distribution of complement-fixing antibodies to poliovirus was similar to sera of ALS and control groups. The in vitro cell-mediated immune responses to poliovirus, however, were significantly greater in ALS patients than in CNS controls and were inversely related to the ALS disability score. Poliovirus has not been demonstrated in the CNS or extra-CNS tissues of ALS patients by conventional means but, if latent or defective poliovirus or related virus were present, this could account for sensitization and a possible autoimmune mechanism. ALS patients exhibited in vitro cellular immunity to ALS and normal CNS subfractions. These responses were not related to the ALS disability score or progression of the disease and probably represent epiphenomena.