The occurrence of Cajal-Retzius (CjRe) cells was studied in four cortical areas of five normal adult humans using antibodies against calretinin. Calretinin immunofluorescence and autofluorescence of lipofusin granules in CjRe cells were visualized by dual channel confocal laser scanning microscopy. Three types of CjRe cells existed in the adult human cortex: horizontal, triangular and multipolar, and their number did not decrease with ageing. Horizontal CjRe cells were found in all cortical areas; they contained no lipofusin or less than other cells. Triangular CjRe cells with descending dendrites were less numerous. Multipolar CjRe cells were rare and contained more lipofuscin. We conclude that calretinin-immunoreactivity can be used to study CjRe cell morphology in normal and diseased adult human brain.