Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disorder and the most common cause of dementia in the industrialised world. The two monoamine oxidase (MAO) enzymes, monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) and monoamine oxidase B (MAOB), are important in the metabolism of monoamine neurotransmitters. AD and ageing have been shown to increase enzyme activity for both MAOA and MAOB. An increase (rather than decrease) of enzyme activity is a rare event in a disease that results in a decrease in the number of cells in the brain. The mechanism, transcriptional or post-transcriptional, responsible for the increase in protein activity, is not known. In this study, we investigate for the first time the messenger RNA (mRNA) expression levels of both MAOA and MAOB in 246 cortical brain samples obtained at autopsy from 62 AD patients and 61 normal controls. We found a significant increase in mRNA levels for both MAOA (P=0.001) and MAOB (P=0.002) in disease brain tissue. This indicates that both MAO enzymes might be important in the progression of AD.