Normal and malignant plasma cells (PC), follicular dendritic cells (FDC), myofibroblasts (MFB) and perineurial cells (PNC) were investigated for the expression of MUC-1 glycoprotein (MUC-1gp) by immunohistochemical and immunoelectron microscopic techniques using monoclonal antibodies E29, 115D8, DF3 and a combination of the three. MUC-1 glycoprotein-positive PC detected by the combined antibodies were frequently seen in a variety of pathological lesions tested, including chronic cervicitis, chronic synovitis, Hodgkin's disease, allergic rhinitis and sinusitis, tuberculous lymphadenitis, foreign body granuloma, multiple myeloma, and chronic tonsillitis. In the lesions containing MUC-1gp-positive PC, the infiltration of immunoglobulin (Ig) E PC and/or IgE-bound mast cells was significantly increased, but MUC-1gp-positive PC did not contain any specific immunoglobulin heavy or light chains. The findings suggest that the expression of MUC-1gp in PC, although not restricted to IgE-class cells, may be induced in an allergic status. Plasma cells and PNC mainly reacted with the antibodies E29 and 115D8, while FDC and MFB were principally reactive with the antibody DF3. In some cases of multiple myeloma, the neoplastic PC were predominantly immunoreactive with DF3. The results indicate: (i) the epitopic variability of MUC-1gp molecules expressed on the non-epithelial cells; and (ii) the epitopic alterations during malignant transformation. It should also be noted that the expression of MUC-1gp in the non-epithelial cells represents a pitfall in histopathological diagnosis.