Antiglycolipid IgM antibodies are known to induce formation of "wide spaced" or "expanded" myelin, a distinctive form of dysmyelination characterized by a repeat period approximately two or three times normal, which is seen also in diseases, including multiple sclerosis. To determine whether an antibody directed against a myelin protein would cause equivalent pathology, we implanted O10 hybridoma cells into the spinal cord of adult or juvenile rats. O10 produces an IgM directed against PLP, the major protein of CNS myelin. Subsequent examination of the cords showed focal demyelination and remyelination. In addition, however, some juvenile cords, but none of the adult cords, displayed wide-spaced myelin with lamellae separated by an extracellular material comprising elements consistent with IgM molecules in appearance. Wide spacing tended to involve the outer layers of the sheath and in some cases alternated with normally spaced lamellae. A feature not seen previously consists of multiple expanded myelin lamellae in one sector of a sheath continuous with normally spaced lamellae in another, resulting in variation in sheath thickness around the axonal circumference. This uneven distribution of wide-spaced lamellae is most simply explained based on incorporation of IgM molecules into immature sheaths during myelin formation and implies a model of CNS myelinogenesis more complex than simple spiraling. The periaxonal space never displays widening of this kind, but the interface with adjacent myelin sheaths or oligodendrocytes may. Thus, wide spacing appears to require that IgM molecules bridge between two PLP-containing membranes and does not reflect the mere presence of immunoglobulin within the extracellular space.