Chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans (CSPG) are extracellular matrix proteins inhibitory to neurite outgrowth in vitro and correlated with decreased neurite outgrowth after CNS injury. Previously, heparan sulfate proteoglycan and dermatan sulfate proteoglycan have been shown to be associated with senile plaques (SPs) and neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) but CSPG was not. In an immunocytochemical study, three monoclonal antibodies to different sulfation states of the chondroitin glycosaminoglycan were used to localize CSPG in cases of Alzheimer's disease. Chondroitin 4-sulfate was found in both SPs and NFTs. An antibody to unsulfated chondroitin strongly immunostained intracellular NFTs and the dystrophic neurites of SPs. Chondroitin 6-sulfate was found in NFTs and the area around SPs. These results suggest that CSPG, in addition or as an alternative to B-amyloid protein, could be responsible for the regression of neurites around senile plaques in Alzheimer's disease.