Gangliosides are assumed to play a crucial role in processes of cellular recognition and interaction important for neural development. They are designated as cytochemical markers of neuronal maturation, as striking changes in the ganglioside pattern parallel the nervous system development. Of particular interest to us are numerous studies that reported during migration of postmitotic neurons and axon formation in developing avian and mammalian brains a transient accumulation of highly sialylated c-pathway gangliosides. However, it has thus far been thought that c-pathway gangliosides do not appear in the human cerebrum; their absence could be somehow interpreted in the light of an evolutionary trend in the pattern of brain gangliosides: by increasing the phylogenetic scale this pattern changes by an accretion of less sialylated gangliosides and switches from c- via b- to a-series, respectively. The present study presents both biochemical and immunocytochemical evidence for the existence of c-pathway gangliosides in the human cerebrum during prenatal life, and their localization in discrete neuronal populations and growing axonal pathways.