A strain of Balb/c mice with neurovisceral storage disorder exhibits metabolic and phenotypic manifestations similar to those found in Niemann-Pick type C and D patients. The storage material in the brain reacted positively with periodate-Schiff reagent. To identify the chemical nature of the storage material we applied lectin histochemistry on paraffin-embedded and frozen sections, using biotinylated lectins and avidin-biotin-peroxidase complex. Major abnormalities were noted in the neurons and glia cells. Swollen neurons were stained heavily by Con A and S-WGA, whereas glia cells, mainly astrocytes, which were abundant both in the cerebrum and cerebellum, were positive to RCA-I, GS-I, PNA, S-WGA and WGA. The myelin tracts reacted with PNA, SBA and RCA-I but to a lesser extent in affected animals when compared to normals. Frozen brain sections stained positively only after extraction with chloroform methanol prior to the lectin treatment and revealed a lectin binding pattern similar to that of the paraffin-embedded preparations. The data presented here show that the stored glucoconjugates in the neurons are of a different chemical composition than those found in glia cells. Since only paraffin embedded sections or lipid extracted frozen sections reacted with the lectins, we suggest that the stored glucoconjugates are glycoproteins or oligosaccharides rather than glycolipids.