The biologic relevance of the increased platelet-associated IgG (PAIgG) on platelets from patients with idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) is unclear. Platelets from ITP patients are often larger than normal, and it is possible that the increased IgG is not specific but passively related to platelet size. The measurement of platelet-bound albumin could provide information concerning the specificity of the platelet-bound IgG, since albumin, like IgG, is a plasma protein, but unlike IgG, is not an active participant in immunologic reactions. Albumin is also a normal constituent of platelet membrane, and increased platelet albumin could indicate an increased platelet mass. Platelet-bound albumin, IgG, and total platelet protein were measured on both intact and disrupted platelets from healthy individuals (n = 25) and patients with ITP (n = 21). Platelet IgG and albumin were measured in an immunoradiometric assay using intact antisera and F(ab')2 fragments prepared from the same antisera. There was no relationship between platelet-bound IgG or albumin, and platelet size measured by either platelet protein or platelet volume, (r less than 0.3 for all interactions). In contrast, there was a significant correlation between platelet-bound albumin and platelet-bound IgG (r = 0.7, n = 21, p less than 0.001). Those patients with elevated platelet PAIgG also had elevated platelet albumin, and this relationship was irrespective of the total platelet protein content or mean platelet volume. It is possible that the increased platelet-bound IgG in ITP reflects an increase in platelet surface area or contaminating platelet fragments that are not manifested as an increase in platelet volume or total platelet protein. Alternatively, a platelet membrane abnormality may occur in ITP that results in the uptake of significant amounts of plasma proteins. Either possibility implies that not all of the IgG on platelets from patients with ITP is pathologic IgG.