Human cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is in direct contact with the brain extracellular space. Beside the secretion of CSF by the choroid plexus the fluid also derives directly from the brain by the ependymal lining of the ventricular system and the glial membrane and from blood vessels in the arachnoid. Therefore, biochemical change in the brain may be reflected in the CSF. CSF is a potential source of protein molecular indices of central nervous system function and pathology. However, various amounts of blood contamination in CSF may arise during sample acquisition. The concentration of protein in the CSF is only 0.2 to 0.5% that of blood. Minor contamination of CSF with blood during collection of the fluid may dramatically alter the protein profile confounding the identification of potential biomarkers. We have analyzed CSF and CSF spiked with increasing amounts of whole blood using proteomic techniques. We detected at least four blood specific highly abundant proteins hemoglobin, catalase, peroxiredoxin and carbonic anhydrase I. These proteins can be used as blood contamination markers for proteomic analysis of CSF. Proteins in blood contaminated CSF samples were less stable compared to neat CSF at 37 degrees C suggesting that blood borne protease may induce protein degradation in CSF during sample acquisition. This analysis was aimed at identification of proteins found primarily in CSF, those found primarily in blood and assessment of the impact of blood contamination on those proteins found in both fluids.