Dysregulation of intracellular Ca(2+) homeostasis may underlie amyloid beta peptide (Abeta) toxicity in Alzheimer's Disease (AD) but the mechanism is unknown. In search for this mechanism we found that Abeta(1-42) oligomers, the assembly state correlating best with cognitive decline in AD, but not Abeta fibrils, induce a massive entry of Ca(2+) in neurons and promote mitochondrial Ca(2+) overload as shown by bioluminescence imaging of targeted aequorin in individual neurons. Abeta oligomers induce also mitochondrial permeability transition, cytochrome c release, apoptosis and cell death. Mitochondrial depolarization prevents mitochondrial Ca(2+) overload, cytochrome c release and cell death. In addition, we found that a series of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) including salicylate, sulindac sulfide, indomethacin, ibuprofen and R-flurbiprofen depolarize mitochondria and inhibit mitochondrial Ca(2+) overload, cytochrome c release and cell death induced by Abeta oligomers. Our results indicate that i) mitochondrial Ca(2+) overload underlies the neurotoxicity induced by Abeta oligomers and ii) inhibition of mitochondrial Ca(2+) overload provides a novel mechanism of neuroprotection by NSAIDs against Abeta oligomers and AD.