alpha B-crystallin is a member of the small heat-shock protein family. Under pathological conditions, the expression of alpha B-crystallin increases in proliferating astrocytes, which suggests that this protein, in addition to glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), can be a marker for gliosis in neurodegenerative diseases. Immunoblotting and immunohistochemical methods were used for the detection of alpha B-crystallin in the brains of Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients and nondemented controls. An increase in alpha B-crystallin expression was found in the brains of AD patients. Immunoreaction was present in reactive astrocytes, microglia, and oligodendrocytes, indicating that all types of glia respond to the stress associated with AD pathology. Colocalization of GFAP and alpha B-crystallin was found in fibrous astrocytes. However, the intensity and range of alpha B-crystallin expression appeared to be limited as compared with the large increase in the number of GFAP-positive astrocytes. This indicates that expression of alpha B-crystallin is not a marker for gliosis in AD. Immunoreactivity to alpha B-crystallin in both astrocytes and microglia was found mainly restricted to areas with senile plaques and neurofibrillary tangles, suggesting the association of alpha B-crystallin with amyloid deposition in AD.