Studies suggest that activation of phosphoinositide 3- kinase-Akt may protect against neuronal cell death in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Here, however, we provide evidence of increased Akt activation, and hyperphosphorylation of critical Akt substrates in AD brain, which link to AD pathogenesis, suggesting that treatments aiming to activate the pathway in AD need to be considered carefully. A different distribution of Akt and phospho-Akt was detected in AD temporal cortex neurons compared with control neurons, with increased levels of active phosphorylated-Akt in particulate fractions, and significant decreases in Akt levels in AD cytosolic fractions, causing increased activation of Akt (phosphorylated-Akt/total Akt ratio) in AD. In concordance, significant increases in the levels of phosphorylation of total Akt substrates, including: GSK3 beta(Ser9), tau(Ser214), mTOR(Ser2448), and decreased levels of the Akt target, p27(kip1), were found in AD temporal cortex compared with controls. A significant loss and altered distribution of the major negative regulator of Akt, PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homologue deleted on chromosome 10), was also detected in AD neurons. Loss of phosphorylated-Akt and PTEN-containing neurons were found in hippocampal CA1 at end stages of AD. Taken together, these results support a potential role for aberrant control of Akt and PTEN signalling in AD.