High-Mr mucin glycopeptides prepared from sputum of an individual with cystic fibrosis (CF) were studied by ion-exchange h.p.l.c. The glycopeptides were heterogeneous and a number of partially resolved populations were identified. Whole mucins from the gel phase were separated into four fractions by isopycnic density-gradient centrifugation in CsCl, and high-Mr glycopeptides from these fractions were examined by ion-exchange h.p.l.c. The acidic nature of the high-Mr glycopeptides increased with increasing buoyant density of the intact mucins, and a periodate-Schiff (PAS)-rich and an extremely high-iron diamine (HID)-reactive component were present in the lowest and highest density fractions respectively. The various glycopeptide populations were identified in different proportions in mucins from four other individuals with CF. CF sputum thus seems to contain distinct mucin populations containing different oligosaccharide clusters corresponding to these high-Mr glycopeptides.