The expression of decay-accelerating factor (DAF or CD55) and CD59 during haematopoietic cell development in bone marrow aspirates of two patients with paroxysmal nocturnal haemoglobinuria (PNH) was compared with that in normal bone marrow by five-dimensional flow cytometry. In contrast to early uncommitted haematopoietic progenitor cells (CD34+, CD38-) in normal bone marrow which uniformly express DAF and CD59, the majority of CD34+, CD38- cells in both patients' marrow exhibited the absence of the two proteins. In both specimens, however, subpopulations of CD34+, CD38- cells expressing DAF and CD59 were detectable, indicative of the presence of two lines of haematopoiesis, one abnormal and the other normal. Concurrent abnormal and normal haematopoietic development was further evident by the presence of subpopulations of DAF-, CD59- and DAF+, CD59+ cells along the differentiation and maturation pathways of the myeloid (CD33+, CD15(-)-->CD33+-->++, CD15+), the erythroid (CD45dim, CD71dim-->CD45-, CD71++), and the B-lymphoid cell lineages (CD10++, CD20(-)-->CD10-, CD20++). While the majority of cells differentiating into and maturing along each cell lineage lacked DAF and CD59, the majority of mature B (CD20++, CD10-) and T-lymphocytes lymphocytes (CD3+) expressed both proteins suggestive of the presence of lymphocytes with a long life span which were generated from normal haematopoietic progenitors before the onset of the disease. The detection of distinct sets of CD34+, CD38(-)--> + progenitor cells which are DAF+, CD59+ or DAF-, CD59- in marrow of PNH patients has relevance for the treatment of PNH. Cells with the phenotype CD34+, CD38-, DAF+, CD59+ are capable of self renewal and represent potential candidates for autologous bone marrow transplantation following depletion of CD34+, CD38-, DAF-, CD59- cells.