Acute-phase serum proteins were analyzed by two-dimensional electrophoresis with isoelectric focusing in 3-10 immobilized pH gradients. Most spots were identified by reference to the plasma map in the SWISS-2DPAGE database. Serum amyloid A protein spots were identified by immunoblotting with specific antiserum and by matching determined with predicted values of electrophoretic parameters. Changes in the concentrations of alpha 1-antitrypsin, leucine-rich glycoprotein, haptoglobin, serum retinol-binding protein and transthyretin were quantitated by densitometry of silver-stained gels. Electrophoretic patterns from 18 patients with bacterial diseases and 16 patients with viral diseases were compared. The incidence of serum amyloid A protein spots was 18/18 in bacterial diseases and 6/16 in viral diseases. As the the other reactants studied, variations were simultaneous in bacterial disease and tended to be staggered in viral diseases.