Recently, apoptosis has been implicated in the selective neuronal loss of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Apoptosis is regulated by the B cell leukemia-2 gene product (Bcl-2) family (Bcl-2, Bcl-x, Bax, Bak and Bad) and the caspase family (ICH-1 and CPP32), with apoptosis being prevented by Bcl-2 and Bcl-x, and promoted by Bax, Bak, Bad, ICH-1 and CPP32. In the present study, we examined the levels of these proteins in the membranous and cytosolic fractions of temporal cortex in AD and control brain. In the membranous fraction, the levels of Bcl-2 alpha, Bcl-xL, Bcl-x beta, Bak and Bad were increased in AD. In the cytosolic fractions, the level of Bcl-x beta was increased, while Bcl-xL, Bax, Bak, and Bad and ICH-1L were unchanged. CPP32 was not detected in AD or control brain. These findings demonstrate a differential involvement of cell death-regulatory proteins in AD and suggest that Bak, Bad, Bcl-2 and Bcl-x are upregulated in AD brains.