Although Alzheimer's disease pathologically affects the brain, familial Alzheimer's disease associated mutations of beta-amyloid precursor protein and presenilin are ubiquitously expressed and therefore aberrant intracellular signals, separate from but similar to, the brain may be expected. Here, we report selective down regulation of the serine/threonine kinase, Akt/PKB, concurrent with elevated endogenous GSK3beta kinase activity in familial Alzheimer's disease beta-amyloid precursor protein expressing human embryonic kidney (HEK) and familial Alzheimer's disease presenilin lymphoblast cells. Further, familial Alzheimer's disease presenilin in the human lymphoblast was associated with beta-catenin destabilization. Moreover, limited immunohistochemistry analysis reveals Akt/PKB in a subset of neurofibrillary tangles where GSK3beta and tau have been reported to co-localize, suggesting a possible Akt/GSK3beta and tau interaction in vivo. Our data suggest that familial Alzheimer's disease mutants of beta-amyloid precursor protein and presenilin signal, at least in part, through the Akt/GSKbeta pathway and that Akt/GSK3beta-mediated signalling may contribute to the underlying Alzheimer's disease pathogenesis induced by familial Alzheimer's disease mutants.