On the example of the reduction of epidermal adhesion of FITC wheat germ agglutinine (WGA) the direct membrane effect of a single X irradiation (44 kV and 220 kV) was analyzed in vitro. Human normal skin and psoriasis centres were compared. Normal skin showed no alteration of microscopically visible FITC-WGA adhesion on epidermal cells over the whole dose range. Foci of psoriasis responded to doses of /ge/ 5 Gy (44 and 220 kV) with a drastic reduction of epidermal lectin binding to lower and medium cell layers. Maximum efficacy was with 5 Gy (44 kV) or 10 Gy (220 kV). A dose elevation up to 20 Gy did not result in an increase of efficacy. Topographically the radiosensitive FITC-WGA adhesion could chiefly be seen in the dermal ridges. The findings support the impression of an increased radiosensitivity of the lesional psoriatic epidermis compared with normal skin. This is connected with an abnormal differentiation of keratinocytes in psoriasis. (author).