With immunohistoperoxidase techniques the presence of plasma (serum) proteins was investigated in senile plaques, congophilic angiopathy, neurons and glial cells in brains of patients with Alzheimer's dementia. Other investigators have found plasma proteins in brain parenchyma and suggested that blood-brain barrier dysfunction might be a primary factor in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's dementia. These studies were performed on formol-fixed brains of patients with Alzheimer's dementia. In the present study we investigated both frozen and formol-fixed brain tissues. The influence of post-mortem delay, prolonged formol fixation and differences in clinical course on detection of plasma proteins by immunocytochemical techniques was also studied. Findings in cases with Alzheimer's dementia were compared with findings in nondemented controls with or without neurological disorders. Plasma proteins could not be demonstrated in the neuropil of a number of patients with Alzheimer's dementia. Moreover, plasma proteins were also found in neuronal cells and astrocytes in brains of nondemented controls. We discussed whether or not cytochemical detection of plasma proteins in the neuropil of post-mortem obtained brains is a reliable technique to investigate blood-brain barrier dysfunction. In our opinion there are, at the moment, no convincing arguments for blood-brain barrier dysfunction in Alzheimer's dementia.