We examined four type 1 polioviruses isolated from the stools of patients with vaccine-associated paralytic poliomyelitis in China. All of these isolates were shown to be Sabin derived viruses by restriction fragment length polymorphism assay after polymerase chain reaction and by sequencing of the viral genome encoding the viral coat protein, VP1. However, the same analysis of the 3D coding region suggested that two of the four isolates had the sequence of wild type poliovirus in the tested region. Furthermore there were also point mutations in the 5' non-coding region. One was a single base change from U to C at nucleotide position 525, and the other three were from G to A at position 480. All the four strains were more neurovirulent that Sabin type 1 virus in transgenic mice with human poliovirus receptor gene. The data showed that the nucleotide positions of type 1 poliovirus which were identified to be in favor of the high neurovirulence were indeed changed during natural transmission, and suggested that the point mutation alone or a recombination of the vaccine type with wild type genome results in an acquisition of neurovirulence.