Missense mutations in the alpha-synuclein gene cause familial Parkinson's disease (PD), and alpha-synuclein is a major component of Lewy bodies (LBs) in sporadic PD, dementia with LBs (DLB), and the LB variant of Alzheimer's disease (AD). To determine whether alpha-synuclein is a component of LBs in familial AD (FAD) patients with known mutations in presenilin (n = 65) or amyloid precursor protein (n = 9) genes, studies were conducted with antibodies to alpha-, beta-, and gamma-synuclein. LBs were detected with alpha- but not beta- or gamma-synuclein antibodies in 22% of FAD brains, and alpha-synuclein-positive LBs were most numerous in amygdala where some LBs co-localized with tau-positive neurofibrillary tangles. As 12 (63%) of 19 FAD amygdala samples contained alpha-synuclein-positive LBs, these inclusions may be more common in FAD brains than previously reported. Furthermore, alpha-synuclein antibodies decorated LB filaments by immunoelectron microscopy, and Western blots revealed that the solubility of alpha-synuclein was reduced compared with control brains. The presence of alpha-synuclein-positive LBs was not associated with any specific FAD mutation. These studies suggest that insoluble alpha-synuclein aggregates into filaments that form LBs in many FAD patients, and we speculate that these inclusions may compromise the function and/or viability of affected neurons in the FAD brain.