The TAR DNA-binding protein-43 (TDP-43) has been identified as a major constituent of inclusions found in frontotemporal dementia with ubiquitin-positive inclusions (FTLD-U) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). To determine a possible role for TDP-43 in Alzheimer's disease (AD), a site-directed caspase-cleavage antibody to TDP-43 based upon a known caspase-3 cleavage consensus site within TDP- 43 at position D219 was designed. In vitro, this antibody labeled the predicted 25 kDa caspase-cleavage fragment of TDP-43 without labeling full-length TDP-43 following digestion of recombinant TDP-43 with caspase-3 or treatment of HeLa cells with staurosporine. Application of this antibody in postmortem brain sections indicated the presence of caspase-cleaved TDP-43 in Hirano bodies, tangles, reactive astrocytes and neuritic plaques of the AD brain. Caspase-cleaved TDP-43 also co-localized with ubiquitin labeled neurons as well as dystrophic neurites within plaque regions. These results suggest that caspase-cleaved TDP-43 is a major pathological finding in AD and may contribute to the neurodegeneration associated with this disease.