Sixty patients of inflammatory brain disease were diagnosed and classified according to clinico-investigational criteria by Ahuja et al into tuberculous meningitis group (36 patients) and non-tuberculous meningitis group (24 patients). Tuberculous meningitis (TBM) patients were classified as probable (9 patients) and possible (27 patients) TBM. Non-TBM group comprised of pyogenic meningitis (8.3%), viral encephalitis (23.3%), cerebral malaria (5%) and enteric encephalopathy (3.3%). Cerebrospinal fluid-adenosine deaminase (CSF-ADA) activities were measured in both TBM and non-TBM groups. Mean CSF-ADA levels in TBM patients was 9.61 +/- 4.10 IU/L and was significantly elevated as compared to viral encephalitis and enteric encephalopathy cases; but difference was insignificant in comparison to pyogenic meningitis (7.92 +/- 0.95 IU/L) and cerebral malaria. Using 8 IU/L as cut off value for diagnosis of TBM a sensitivity of 44% and specificity of 75% was observed.