The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for detection of cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) Toxoplasma gondii DNA was combined with the study of intrathecal antibody synthesis by antibody specific index calculation (ASI) and the detection of specific oligoclonal IgG bands (OCB) by affinity mediated immunoblotting (AMI) in 11 AIDS patients with T. gondii encephalitis (TE) and in 20 control patients with or without neurological disorders. Enhanced chemiluminescence (ECL) western-blot technique was employed to evaluate the antigenic specificity of CSF-IgG towards individual T. gondii antigens. PCR was positive in all TE patients which displayed brain-derived or blood-derived specific OCB, even when comparative ASI failed. Four TE patients had a unique anti-T. gondii OCB restricted to the CSF and a strong antibody response toward the 29 kDa band by ECL western blot. This response could be an important marker to discriminate TE from other opportunistic central nervous system (CNS) infections in the course of AIDS.