Postmortem brain tissues of 21 cerebral malaria cases were obtained in Myanmar and Vietnam. The tissues were examined by light microscopy and by an immunohistochemical method. Brain microvessels (capillaries and venules) were examined for the presence of immunoglobulins IgE and IgG, Plasmodium falciparum antigen, and parasitized erythrocytes (PRBC). Deposition of IgE, IgG, and P. falciparum antigen was observed in the microvessels from all specimens examined. Sequestered PRBC in the microvessels were positive for IgG in all 21 cases and for IgE in six cases. In the latter cases, the percentage of microvessels with sequestered PRBC was > 50%, with the frequency of IgE-positive cells ranging from 42% to 52%. In contrast, in five cases that were only weakly positive for IgE, the percentage of microvessels with sequestered PRBC was remarkably low (< 1%). These data indicate that the degree of deposition of IgE in microvessels and on PRBC from cerebral malaria patients correlated with that of PRBC sequestration. As IgE-containing immune complexes are known to induce local overproduction of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), a major pathogenic factor in cerebral malaria, IgE may contribute to the pathogenesis of this severe disease.