Neurotoxic beta-amyloid (Abeta) peptides participate in Alzheimer's disease (AD); therefore, reduction of Abeta generated from APP may provide a therapeutic approach for AD. Gene knockout studies in transgenic mice producing human Abeta may identify targets for reducing Abeta. This study shows that knockout of the cathepsin B gene in mice expressing human wild-type APP (hAPPwt) results in substantial decreases in brain Abeta40 and Abeta42 by 67% and decreases in levels of the C-terminal beta-secretase fragment (CTFbeta) derived from APP. In contrast, knockout of cathepsin B in mice expressing hAPP with the rare Swedish (Swe) and Indiana (Ind) mutations had no effect on Abeta. The difference in reduction of Abeta in hAPPwt mice, but not in hAPPSwe/Ind mice, shows that the transgenic model can affect cathepsin B gene knockout results. Since most AD patients express hAPPwt, these data validate cathepsin B as a target for development of inhibitors to lower Abeta in AD.