An increasing body of evidence indicates that oxidative stress and damage play a role in the pathogenesis of a number of diseases associated with neurodegeneration, including Down syndrome (DS), Alzheimer's disease (AD) and Pick's disease (PD). Although oxidative stress is a common element in these diseases, specific clinico-pathological phenotypes have been described for each disorder. Development of these phenotypes might be linked, among others, to differences in antioxidant response. The present study is designed to investigate expression of peroxiredoxins (Prxs), the newly characterized family of highly conserved antioxidant enzymes, and other antioxidant enzymes in frontal cortex and cerebellum of DS, AD and PD patients using the technique of proteomics. Levels of Prx I, Mn superoxide dismutase (SOD2) and glutathione-S-transferase omega1 in DS, AD and PD were not significantly different from that of controls in both brain regions investigated. In contrast, Prx II was significantly increased (P<0.05) in frontal cortex of DS, AD and PD, whereas Prx III was decreased in frontal cortex of DS (P<0.01) and PD (P<0.001). Interestingly, Prx VI displayed a significant increase (P<0.05) only in PD frontal cortex. The present data indicate that differential regulation of antioxidant enzymes exist in DS, AD and PD, suggestive of the diversity as well as distinct functional roles of these proteins. Moreover, while up-regulation of Prx II appears to provide evidence for the existence of compensatory response in increased cell loss, up-regulation of Prx VI may be used to discriminate PD from AD as well as DS.