Previously, phosphatidylinositol (PI) kinase activity in cytosolic fractions repared from postmortem tissue of the cerebral cortex from patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) appeared to be lower than that of age-matched controls [Jolles et al., J. Neurochem., 58 (1992) 2326–2329]. In the study presented here, PI and PIP (phosphatidylinositol phosphate) kinase activities were studied in synaptosomes prepared from postmortem brain tissue of AD patients and age-matched controls. Firstly, PI kinase activity in synaptosomes prepared from the frontal superior gyrus of AD brain was 30% lower than in synaptosomes prepared from postmortem tissue of control brain. PIP kinase activity was the same in AD and control synaptosomes. Secondly, the yield of synaptosomal protein (μg protein per mg tissue wet weight) was lower in preparations from AD brain than in preparations from control brain, which could be a manifestation of a loss of presynaptic terminals in the frontal cortex. These results suggest that the difference in PI kinase activity between AD and control brain tissue may originate from differences in intact neurons in view of the fact that synaptosomes can originate only from intact neurons.