[en] Total thiamine (the sum of thiamine and its phosphate esters) concentrations are two- to fourfold lower in human brain than in the brain of other mammals. There were no differences in the total thiamine content between biopsied and autopsied human brain, except that in the latter, thiamine triphosphate was undetectable. The main thiamine phosphate-metabolizing enzymes could be detected in autopsied brain, and the kinetic parameters were comparable to those reported in other species. Thiamine diphosphate levels were lowest in hippocampus (15 +/- 4 pmol/mg of protein) and highest in mammillary bodies (24 +/- 4 pmol/mg of protein). Maximal levels of thiamine and its phosphate ester were found to be present at birth. In parietal cortex and globus pallidus, mean levels of total thiamine in the oldest age group (77-103 years) were, respectively, 21 and 26% lower than those in the middle age group (40-55 years). Unlike cerebral cortex, the globus pallidus showed a sharp drop in thiamine diphosphate levels during infancy, with concentrations in the oldest group being only approximately 50% of the levels present during the first 4 months of life. These data, consistent with previous observations conducted in blood, suggest a tendency toward decreased thiamine status in older people.