Chronic administration of the atypical antipsychotic drug, clozapine, to rodents has been shown to increase the concentration of apolipoprotein D (apoD) in several area of the brain, suggesting that apoD could be involved in the therapeutic effects of antipsychotic drugs and/or the pathology of psychotic illnesses. Here, we measured a significant decrease in the concentration of apoD in serum samples from schizophrenic patients. In contrast, apoD levels were significantly increased (92--287%) in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (Brodmann's area 9) of schizophrenic and bipolar subjects. Elevated levels of apoD expression were also observed in the caudate of schizophrenic and bipolar subjects (68--89%). No differences in apoD immunoreactivity were detected in occipital cortex (Brodmann's area 18) in either group, or in the hippocampus, substantia nigra, or cerebellum of the schizophrenic group. The low serum concentrations of apoD observed in these patients supports recent hypotheses involving systemic insufficiencies in lipid metabolism/signaling in schizophrenia. Elevation of apoD expression selectively within central nervous system regions implicated in the pathology of these neuropsychiatric disorders suggests a focal compensatory response that neuroleptic drug regimens may augment.