The value of a test for islet cell cytoplasmic antibodies together with a test for GAD65 antibodies to predict the subsequent development of diabetes over a period of 11.5 years was assessed in an open childhood population comprising 2,805 individuals. A single serum sample was obtained from each individual between 1975 and 1977 and screened for islet cell cytoplasmic antibodies for which eight individuals were positive (0.29%). During the average follow-up period of 11.5 years, four of eight islet cell antibody positive and three islet cell antibody negative individuals developed clinical diabetes. Sera from all individuals, who were islet cell antibody positive and/or developed diabetes (total of 11) and from 100 randomly selected control subjects were analysed for GAD65 antibodies. Six of eight islet cell antibody positive individuals were GAD65 antibody positive including all four who subsequently developed IDDM. Furthermore, one of the three islet cell antibody negative individuals who developed IDDM was GAD65 antibody positive both in 1976 and in 1989. Thus, a positive test for GAD65 antibodies alone correctly predicted diabetes in five of seven children, who developed the disease. Only one of the children, who developed diabetes was positive for insulin autoantibodies and this individual was also positive for islet cell cytoplasmic antibodies and GAD65 antibodies. One of the 100 control subjects was positive for GAD65 antibodies (1%). The results suggest that a single GAD65 antibody test may have a higher sensitivity for predicting IDDM than a test for islet cell cytoplasmic antibodies, but that a combined positive test for both antibodies increases the specificity for predicting IDDM over a period of 11.5 years.