Three custom synthesized myelin basic protein (MBP) peptides, bovine peptide 79-88, human peptide 80-89, and human peptide 82-91, were used to produce four murine monoclonal antibodies (MAb) that were selected on the basis of reaction in a solid phase radioimmunoassay (SRIA) with human MBP. The MAb were compared with respect to antigen specificity against intact MBP and 10 overlapping MBP peptides. One MAb recognized an epitope near the amino-terminus of bovine MBP peptide 79-88. A second MAb was directed towards an epitope that is more reactive in human MBP peptide 45-89 than in intact MBP, but is not recognized in any of the small MBP peptides examined. The third MAb detected an epitope near the middle of human MBP peptide 80-89, whereas the fourth MAb reacted with the carboxyl-terminal portion of human MBP peptide 82-91. Epitopes recognized in SRIA were sometimes not detected by the same MAb in a fluid phase double antibody radioimmunoassay. These results demonstrate the multiplicity of potential epitopes in a dodecapeptide of MBP and do not support the concept of a single, dominant epitope in the region of MBP peptide 80-89.