The cellular pathology of Alzheimer's disease includes an accumulation of microglia surrounding the amyloid plaques. We report that human amyloid beta-protein is chemotactic for murine resident peritoneal macrophages and rat microglia, which may account for the increased density of microglia in plaques. A maximal chemotactic response was observed at 1-10nM, with a 2.5 fold increase in activity over controls for both classes of mononuclear phagocytes. The neurotoxic peptide fragment (25-35) of amyloid beta-protein is similarly chemotactic, while a control scrambled version and the precursor protein are not chemotactic. These results indicate that beta-protein may influence plaque formation via the recruitment of phagocytes, with consequent implications for the future development of treatments for Alzheimer's disease..