The polymorphism of apolipoprotein E (apoE) has been recognized as a genetic risk factor in different neurodegenerative disorders, with or without tau protein- related neuropathology, but few published epidemiological data are available as concerns the association of different apoE alleles with two relatively rare forms of dementia, Pick's disease (PiD) and Huntington's disease (HD). In this study the frequency of the apoE4 allele was examined in 36 persons with histopathologically proven PiD and compared with that of the apoE genotype in 28 HD probands and 79 aged healthy controls. The E4 allele was overrepresented selectively in PiD (42%) as compared with the control population (7%). No such association was found for HD probands (9%). This finding lends further support to the hypothesis that the E4 genotype is not an Alzheimer's disease specific susceptibility factor, and that it could be present in diverse dementing disorders with tau protein related neuropathology, such as PiD.