The development of basal ganglia calcification was studied in 85 patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) by computed tomography (CT). Bilateral calcification of the basal ganglia was found to occur in 5 patients (5.9 %) with SLE, but was not seen in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and progressive systemic sclerosis. All were female with a mean age of 42 years (range 29 - 49). The patients with calcification of the basal ganglia had neurological symptoms, such as psychiatric problems (3 cases), grand mal seizures (1 case), CSF abnormalities (2 cases), and EEG changes (4 cases). There were significantly higher incidences of alopecia, cutaneous vasculitis, leukopenia, and thrombocytopenia in the group with calcifications than those in the group with normal CT findings. Circulating immune complexes were detected and LE tests were positive in 2 patients. Endocrinological examination showed no abnormality in any. We suggest that basal ganglia calcification in SLE might be related to cerebral vasculitis.