In recent years, nerve growth factor (NGF) has gained attention as a potential therapeutic agent for Alzheimer's disease (AD). To study the expression of NGF and its homologs, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and neurotrophin 3 (NT-3), postmortem samples of hippocampus from AD and control donors were examined by in situ hybridization. Hybridization signal for BDNF, but not NGF or NT-3, was decreased in samples of hippocampus from donors with AD. Decreased transcript abundance of BDNF mRNA in hippocampi of individuals with AD was verified by an RNAase protection assay. These results suggest the possibility that decreased expression of BDNF may contribute to the progression of cell death in AD.