Bernard-Soulier syndrome is a rare, congenital bleeding disorder caused by absent or defective GP Ib platelet membrane receptor for the von Willebrand factor (vWF). We studied two brothers with moderate bleeding symptoms. Bleeding time was prolonged and ristocetin-induced platelet aggregation was absent. Flow cytometric analysis showed that both boys had a subnormal expression of GP Ib. One antibody used (AN51) was bound only to 30% of the platelets and at a subnormal density. A second antibody (SZ2) also bound at a subnormal density but a normal fraction of the platelets were immunoreactive. Ristocetin stimulation of the patients' platelets in the presence of plasma resulted in a low binding of vWF, about 30% of healthy controls. On the other hand the expression of GP IIb/IIIa on the platelet membrane appeared to be supernormal even when the increased platelet size was taken into account as shown by the ratio between the density of GP IIIa and CD 9 structures. We conclude that these brothers have a variant of the Bernard-Soulier syndrome with a low expression of a GP Ib receptor.