Recently antibodies to hepatitis C virus were detected in sera of chronic active hepatitis patients, with anti-smooth muscle autoantibodies or with anti-liver/kidney microsomal type 1 autoantibodies. As the latter were used to differentiate autoimmune chronic active hepatitis from chronic non-A, non-B virus hepatitis, it was mainly important to discover if autoantibodies were associated with chronic hepatitis C virus infection. The sera of 272 chronic hepatitis C patients were screened by indirect immunofluorescence for non-organ specific autoantibodies. Antinuclear antibodies and anti-smooth muscle autoantibodies were more frequent in chronic hepatitis C patients than in blood donors (n = 100). Anti-liver/kidney microsomal type 1 autoantibodies were not detected in the sera of the blood donors, in the 74 hepatitis B patients or in the 30 alcoholic hepatitis or cirrhotic patients' sera tested as controls. They were detected in 14 chronic hepatitis C patients. These antibodies were compared in immunodiffusion to anti-liver/kidney microsomal type 1 autoantibodies sera obtained from type-2 autoimmune chronic active hepatitis patients and an identity reaction was observed. Chronic hepatitis C patients without or with anti-liver/kidney microsomal type 1 autoantibodies, did not differ in age, sex ratio, transaminases and gammaglobulin level, risk factors for hepatitis C virus infection, association with other autoimmune diseases. These patients differed significantly from type-2 autoimmune chronic active hepatitis patients. We conclude that: (i) in some chronic hepatitis C patients the pattern and the titer of autoantibodies may create confusion with an autoimmune chronic active hepatitis; (ii) There is no serological evidence for a hepatitis C virus infection in true type-2 autoimmune chronic active hepatitis.