Galactocerebrosidase-deficient oligodendrocytes of 'twitcher' (twi/twi) mice degenerate prematurely. Transplantation of normal bone marrow cells has been shown to alleviate symptoms and to prolong survival time. However, characteristic ataxia ('twitching') is not cured. In an attempt to improve further the condition of twitcher mice, allogeneic foetal liver cells were transplanted as a source of normal haemopoietic stem cells and supplemented with intracerebral transplantation of foetal brain cells. A reliable method was developed to detect donor-type cells in brain tissue. Bacteriophage lambda transgenic foetal mice were used as donors of both foetal liver and brain cells. Integrated copies of lambda DNA in donor cells were detected by in situ hybridization with biotinylated probes, which were then stained using streptavidin alkaline phosphatase. This technique was combined with immunohistochemistry to distinguish donor-type oligodendrocytes from macrophages. Immunoperoxidase staining with an antiserum to carbonic anhydrase-II produced dark perikarya of oligodendrocytes. The results demonstrated that local foetal brain cell grafts resulted in a wide dissemination of donor-type oligodendrocytes throughout the twitcher brain. The addition of a foetal brain cell graft to haemopoietic cell transplantation resulted in significantly prolonged survival of twitcher mice.