Subpopulations of pyramidal neurons in the neocortex have been shown to contain nonphosphorylated neurofilament protein (NPNFP) and calbindin D28K (Morrison et al., 1987; Campbell and Morrison, 1989; Hof et al., 1990; Kobayashi et al., 1990; Hof and Morrison, 1991; Mesulam and Geula, 1991). However, it is not known what relations, if any, exist between the pyramidal neurons containing each of these proteins. In this study, the expression of NPNFP and calbindin immunoreactivity was compared in six regions of human neocortex. Characteristic laminar patterns of immunoreactivity for each protein were seen in most regions examined, and both NPNFP- and calbindin-labeled pyramidal neurons were found in layer III. However, the pyramidal neurons labeled with NPNFP and calbindin differed in several respects. First, the sublaminar distribution of NPNFP-labeled pyramids within layer III differed across regions, ranging from an even distribution throughout the layer in a visual association region (area 18) to a predominance of labeled neurons in the deep half of that layer in a higher association region (area 20). The distribution of calbindin-immunoreactive pyramidal neurons also varied regionally, but in a different manner than that of the NPNFP-labeled neurons. Second, in every region examined, the average size of NPNFP-labeled layer III pyramids was greater than that of calbindin-immunoreactive pyramids. However, there was substantial regional heterogeneity in the extent to which the size distributions of neurons in each of the two populations overlapped. Third, in the regions in which NPNFP- and calbindin-immunoreactive neurons were most similar in size, the amount of colocalization (as identified by double-labeling studies) was also greatest. Similarly, in the regions in which there was minimal overlap in the size of the NPNFP- and the calbindin-immunoreactive neurons, there was minimal colocalization. These regional characteristics of NPNFP- and calbindin-immunoreactive layer III pyramidal neurons have implications for the involvement of these neuronal populations in Alzheimer's disease.