Chronic ITP is a syndrome of destructive thrombocytopenia due in most cases to antiplatelet autoantibodies. In the present studies we have studied 74 patients with chronic ITP using a new immunobead assay. Of these, 59 (79.7%) had demonstrable platelet-associated autoantibodies: 48 against platelet glycoprotein IIb/IIIa and 11 against glycoprotein Ib/IX. Plasma autoantibodies were studied in all patients and 32 (43.2%) had positive results; in each case the patient also had platelet-associated autoantibodies directed to the same antigen. We conclude that the majority of patients with chronic ITP have autoantibodies against platelet membrane glycoproteins and that the immunobead assay is a sensitive and reproducible method for their detection which is applicable to the routine hospital laboratory.