Secretoneurin is a recently described peptide derived by endoproteolytic processing from secretogranin II, previously named chromogranin C. In this study, we have investigated the distribution of secretoneurin-like immunoreactivity in the human hippocampus in controls and in Alzheimer's disease patients, and compared the staining pattern to that of calretinin. Secretoneurin-like immunoreactivity is present throughout the hippocampal formation. At the border of the dentate molecular layer and the granule cell layer, a band of dense secretoneurin immunostaining appeared. In this part, as in the area of the CA2 sector, the high density of secretoneurin-immunoreactivity coincided with calretinin-like immunoreactivity. The mossy fibre system displayed a moderate density of secretoneurin-immunoreactivity. In the entorhinal cortex, a particularly high density of secretoneurin-immunoreactivity was observed. The density of secretoneurin-like immunoreactivity was significantly reduced in the innermost part of the molecular layer and in the outer molecular layer of the dentate gyrus in Alzheimer's disease. For calretinin-like immunoreactivity, a less pronounced decrease was found in the innermost part of the molecular layer. About 40-60% of neuritic plaques were secretoneurin-immunopositive. This study shows that secretoneurin is distinctly distributed in the human hippocampus and that significant changes of secretoneurin-like immunoreactivity occur in Alzheimer's disease, reflecting synaptic loss.