Cells of the microglia/macrophage lineage represent an important component of different brain tumours. However, there is little information about the microglia/macrophage cell system in glioneuronal tumours and its possible contribution to the high epileptogenecity of these lesions. In the present study, the distribution of cells of the microglia/macrophage lineage was studied by immunocytochemistry for CD68 and human leucocyte antigen (HLA)-DR in a group of glioneuronal tumours, including gangliogliomas (GG, n = 30), and dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumours (DNT, n = 17), from patients with chronic intractable epilepsy. A significant number of microglia/macrophage cells were observed in the large majority of glioneuronal tumours, both within the tumour and in the peritumoral region. Activated microglial cells positive for HLA-DR were localized around blood vessels and clustered around tumour neuronal cells. The density of activated microglial cells correlated with the duration of epilepsy, as well as with the frequency of seizures prior to surgical resection. These observations indicate that the presence of cells of the microglial/macrophage cell system is a feature of glioneuronal tumours and is functionally related to epilepsy, either directly in epileptogenesis or through activation following seizure activity.