Receptor for Advanced Glycation Endproducts (RAGE), a multiligand receptor in the immunoglobulin superfamily, functions as a signal-transducing cell surface acceptor for amyloid-beta peptide (Abeta). In view of increased neuronal expression of RAGE in Alzheimer's disease, a murine model was developed to assess the impact of RAGE in an Abeta-rich environment, employing transgenics (Tgs) with targeted neuronal overexpression of RAGE and mutant amyloid precursor protein (APP). Double Tgs (mutant APP (mAPP)/RAGE) displayed early abnormalities in spatial learning/memory, accompanied by altered activation of markers of synaptic plasticity and exaggerated neuropathologic findings, before such changes were found in mAPP mice. In contrast, Tg mice bearing a dominant-negative RAGE construct targeted to neurons crossed with mAPP animals displayed preservation of spatial learning/memory and diminished neuropathologic changes. These data indicate that RAGE is a cofactor for Abeta-induced neuronal perturbation in a model of Alzheimer's-type pathology, and suggest its potential as a therapeutic target to ameliorate cellular dysfunction.