Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis was used to analyse cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from 75 suspect cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), 61 of which were confirmed by post mortem brain histopathology, and 38 normal cattle. CSF samples were also examined from cattle killed at periodic intervals through the incubation period following experimental challenge. Consistent changes were recorded in all CSF samples from the confirmed cases of natural BSE and also from cattle showing early signs of experimental disease. The changes consisted of an increased intensity of staining of apolipoprotein E and the presence of two protein spots, as yet unidentified, of molecular weights 35 and 36 kDa, both with a pl of 5.5. These changes were absent in the CSF samples from the normal cattle, from the clinically suspect cattle which were not confirmed as BSE and from the experimentally challenged cattle in the preclinical phase of infection.