Expression of three types of mRNA encoding amyloid beta-protein precursor (APP) in various tissues was analysed, using a ribonuclease protection assay, with special reference to Alzheimer's disease (AD). The total content and the proportion of APP mRNAs were specific to each tissue. Among eight tissues examined, the brain was distinct in that the expression level was highest and APP695 mRNA was expressed in abundance. The ratio of APP770/APP751/APP695 mRNAs was approximately 1:10:20 in the cerebral cortex of control brain. The proportions of APP770 mRNA and APP770-plus-APP751 mRNAs increased up to 2.6- and 1.4-fold, respectively, in various regions of AD brain compared with control. The enhanced expression of protease inhibitor-harboring types (APP770 and APP751) may disturb the balance between biosynthesis and degradation of APPs and ultimately lead to accumulation of beta-protein as amyloid.