Aberrant neurofilament (NF) phosphorylation in the soma of the ventral horn neurons of neonatal rat spinal cord is observed following exposure to cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of patients suffering from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). CSF samples from ALS and non-ALS neurological patients were injected into the spinal subarachnoid space of 3 day old rat pups. After 48 h, sections of spinal cords were stained for the presence of phosphorylated NF epitopes with SMI-31 antibody. The number of neuronal soma staining with this antibody in the ventral and dorsal horns sides of the spinal cord was counted. There was a significant 3-fold increase in the number of soma stained with SMI-31 antibody in the ventral horns of rat spinal cords exposed to CSF of patients with ALS compared to cords from rats exposed to CSF of non-ALS patients and those which were not exposed to any CSF samples. Such an increase in staining of neuronal soma was not observed in the dorsal horns. Hyperphosphorylation of neuronal soma suggests an initial stage of degenerative changes occurring in the motor (ventral horn) neurons following exposure to circulating factor(s) in the CSF of patients with ALS.