Background: The measurement of biomarkers in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) has gained increasing acceptance in establishing the diagnosis of some neurodegenerative diseases. Heart-type fatty acid-binding protein (H-FABP) was recently discovered in CSF and serum of patients with neurodegenerative diseases. Objective: We investigated H-FABP in CSF and serum alone and in combination with CSF tau protein to evaluate these as potential biomarkers for the differentiation between dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Alzheimer's disease (AD). Methods: We established H-FABP and tau protein values in a set of 144 persons with DLB (n = 33), Parkinson disease with dementia (PDD; n = 25), AD (n = 35) and nonclemented neurological controls (NNC; n = 51). Additionally, serum H-FABP levels were analyzed in idiopathic Parkinson disease patients without evidence of cognitive decline (n = 45) using commercially available enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. We calculated absolute values of HFABP and tau protein in CSF and serum and established relative ratios between the two to obtain the best possible match for the clinical working diagnosis. Results: Serum HFABP levels were elevated in DLB and PDD patients compared with NNC and AD subjects. To better discriminate between DLB and AD, we calculated the ratio of serum H-FABP to CSF tau protein levels. At the arbitrary chosen cutoff ratio >= 8 this quotient reached a sensitivity of 91% and a specificity of 66%. Conclusion: Our results suggest that the measurement of CSF tau protein, together with H-FABP quantification in serum and CSF, and the ratio of serum H-FABP to CSF tau protein represent marker candidates for the differentiation between AD and DLB. Copyright (c) 2007 S. Karger AG, Basel.