Normal human fibroblasts display a limited lifespan in culture, which is due to a steadily decreasing fraction of cells that are able to proliferate. Using antibodies that react with antigens present in proliferating cells only, in an indirect immunofluorescence assay, we have estimated the fraction of proliferating cells in cultures of normal human fibroblasts. Furthermore, we have estimated the rate of decline in the fraction of proliferating cells during the process of cellular ageing by application of the assay to normal human fibroblasts throughout their lifespan in culture. Werner's Syndrome is an autosomal recessive disease in which individuals display symptoms of ageing prematurely. Werner's Syndrome fibroblasts display a reduced lifespan in culture compared with normal human fibroblasts. Like normal human fibroblasts, the growth of Werner's Syndrome fibroblasts is characterised by a decreasing fraction of cells reacting with the proliferation-associated antibodies throughout their lifespan in culture. However, the rate of loss of proliferating cells in Werner's Syndrome fibroblasts during the process of cellular ageing is accelerated 5- to 6-fold compared with the rate determined for normal human fibroblasts.