Abstract A study concerning the amount of soluble ubiquitin in different cortical and subcortical regions of brains from patients with Alzheimer's disease compared to the amount in normal brains is presented. Several samples from 9 brain regions were processed and analyzed by liquid chromatography. In almost all the investigated cerebral regions the soluble ubiquitin content was significantly higher in pathologic tissue than in normal tissue. The primary structure of ubiquitin isolated from brain tissue affected by Alzheimer's degenerative processes was determined and resulted to be identical to normal human ubiquitin. These findings, together with the detection of polyubiquitinated proteins in paired helical filaments of neurofibrillary tangles described by several authors, suggest that an impairment of the process of intracellular, ubiquitin-dependent proteolysis might play an important role in the pathogenesis of this neurodegenerative disease. On the other hand, the expression of the correct polypeptide sequence in brain with Alzheimer's disease seems to exclude a mutation of the polyubiquitin gene as a cause of these alterations.