Previous studies suggest the presence of increased concentrations of cerebral myo-inositol in Alzheimer disease (AD). To characterize this abnormality further, we quantified myo-inositol and several other polyols in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and plasma from 10 AD subjects and 10 healthy age-matched controls by using a gas chromatographic-mass spectrometric technique. The mean CSF concentration and CSF/plasma concentration ratio of myo-inositol in AD were not significantly different from those determined in control subjects. Also, concentration profiles of other polyols were not significantly altered in AD. CSF and plasma myo-inositol concentrations were correlated in control subjects but not in AD subjects. However, a significant correlation between CSF and plasma 1,5-anhydrosorbitol (a polyol internal control) concentrations observed in control subjects was retained in AD subjects.