To investigate the pathomechanism of amyloid beta protein (A beta) deposition in brains with Alzheimer's disease (AD), cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of A beta species (CSF-A beta) with different carboxy termini, i.e. A betaX-40 and A betaX-42(43) as well as A beta1-40 and A beta1-42(43), were measured in patients with AD and age-matched controls without dementia (CTR) using sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs). The present study revealed that both CSF-A betaX-42(43) and A beta1-42(43) levels were significantly lower in the AD patients (P<0.005) than in the CTR group, whereas neither CSF-A betaX-40 nor CSF-A beta1-40 levels showed any differences between the two groups. In addition, although there was no difference between the ratios of A betaX-40 to A beta1-40 in the AD and CTR groups, the ratios of A betaX-42(43) to A beta1-42(43) were increased in the AD group compared with those in the CTR group (P<0.05). Therefore, it can be assumed that the ratios of amino terminal truncations and/or modifications of CSF-A beta42(43) with carboxy termini ending at residue 42(43) were more increased in the AD group than in the CTR group. Increased adsorption of A beta42(43) to A beta deposition in AD brains, decreased secretion of A beta42(43) to CSF and/or increased clearance of A beta42(43) from CSF might explain the diminished levels of A beta42(43) in the CSF of AD patients. In addition, CSF-A beta42(43) could reflect increased amino terminal truncations and/or modifications of A beta42(43) in AD brains.