Dynein arms and spokes are crucial components of cilia. Reference values for the dynein arms and spokes were calculated based on biopsies from non-PCD patients as well as after ciliogenesis in culture. The mean values in the biopsies (n = 251) were 8.4 +/- 0.5, 2.9 +/- 0.7 and 4.7 +/- 1.0 for the outer dynein arms, inner dynein arms and spokes respectively. After ciliogenesis in culture (n = 462) identical values were found: 8.7 +/- 0.4, 3.0 +/- 0.4 and 5.5 +/- 0.6. The lower limits of normality can be set at 7.0 and 1.2 for the outer and inner dynein arms respectively. The dynein arms and spokes were not influenced by the percentage of secondary abnormalities. In conclusion, dynein arms and spokes are readily identified after ciliogenesis in culture. These parameters are independent of secondary ciliary dyskinesia.