Dendritic spheroid bodies (SBs) and Lewy bodies (LBs) were identified in comparable numbers in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SBC) of nine parkinsonian cases and one case of striatonigral degeneration but were not found irt cases of Huntington's disease or neurologically normal controls. The immunohistochemical profile of the SBs in dystrophic dendrites of nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons was remarkably similar to that of the LBs found within dendrites or free of the SNC neuropil. Both types of inclusions stained positively with antibodies to tyrosine hydroxylase, ubiquitin and microtubule-associated protein-2 (MAP2), and negatively for Tau-2, although they had different ultrastructural appearances. A few intracellular LBs were stained by antibodies to neurofilament proteins (NFs) 68, 160, and 200 kD, but dendritic SBs and extracellular LBs were not so stained. These data indicate that dendritic SBs and extracellular LBs may have a common molecular pathogenetic origin in Parkinson's disease. On the other hand, the SBs seen in the pars reticulata (SNR) and in the distal nigrostriatal axons even in control cases were generally stained by antibodies to NFs and ubiquitin but not to MAP2. This latter staining pattern in similar to that shown by SBs in the anterior horn in ALS and in the cerebellum of neurologically normal brains and is believed typical of axonal as opposed to dendritic SBs.