The beta-amyloid peptide-(25-35) fragment, but not beta-amyloid peptide-(1-28), shares with beta-amyloid protein-(1-42) the ability to self-aggregate and to induce neurotoxicity in vitro. This study examined the induction of amnesia in rats given intracerebroventricularly soluble or aggregated beta-amyloid peptide-(25-35) (5-45 nmol), or beta-amyloid peptide-(1-28) (15 nmol). Memory deficit in the water-maze test, examined 14 days after aggregated beta-amyloid peptide-(25-35) injection, was more pronounced than with soluble beta-amyloid peptide-(25-35). beta-Amyloid peptide-(1-28) only affected retention. These results confirm the direct amnesic properties of beta-amyloid peptides in the rat brain and showed that prior peptide aggregation markedly facilitates the appearance of amnesia.