Oxidative stress is implicated in both the deposition and pathogenesis of beta-amyloid (Abeta) protein in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Accordingly, overexpression of the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) in neuronal cells and transgenic AD mice reduces Abeta toxicity and accumulation. In contrast, mutations in SOD1 associated with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) confer enhanced pro-oxidative enzyme activities. We therefore examined whether ALS-linked mutant SOD1 overexpression in motor neuronal cells or transgenic ALS mice modulates Abeta toxicity or its accumulation in the brain. Aggregated, but not freshly solubilised, substrate-bound Abeta peptides induced degenerative morphology and cytotoxicity in motor neuron-like NSC-34 cells. Transfection of NSC-34 cells with human wild-type SOD1 attenuated Abeta-induced toxicity, however this neuroprotective effect was also observed for ALS-linked mutant SOD1. Analysis of the cerebral cortex, brainstem, cerebellum and olfactory bulb from transgenic SOD1G93A mice using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay of acid-guanidine extracts revealed age-dependent elevations in Abeta levels, although not significantly different from wild-type mouse brain. In addition, brain amyloid protein precursor (APP) levels remained unaltered as a consequence of mutant SOD1 expression. We therefore conclude that mutant SOD1 overexpression promotes neither Abeta toxicity nor brain accumulation in these ALS models.