Inhibition of cerebral amyloid beta-protein deposition seems to be an important target for Alzheimer's disease therapy. Amyloidogenesis could be inhibited by short synthetic peptides designed as beta-sheet breakers. Here we demonstrate a 5-residue peptide that inhibits amyloid beta-protein fibrillogenesis, disassembles preformed fibrils in vitro and prevents neuronal death induced by fibrils in cell culture. In addition, the beta-sheet breaker peptide significantly reduces amyloid beta-protein deposition in vivo and completely blocks the formation of amyloid fibrils in a rat brain model of amyloidosis. These findings may provide the basis for a new therapeutic approach to prevent amyloidosis in Alzheimer's disease.