Synaptic dysfunction, together with neuritic plaques, neurofibrillary tangles and cholinergic neuron loss is an established finding in the Alzheimer's disease (AD) neocortex. The synaptopathology of AD is known to involve both pre- and postsynaptic components. However, the status of rabphilin 3A (RPH3A), which interacts with the SNARE complex and regulates synaptic vesicle exocytosis and Ca(2+)-triggered neurotransmitter release, is at present unclear. In this study, we measured RPH3A and its ligand Rab3A as well as several SNARE proteins in postmortem neocortex of patients with AD, and found specific reductions of RPH3A immunoreactivity compared with aged controls. RPH3A loss correlated with dementia severity, cholinergic deafferentation, and increased ß-amyloid (Aß) concentrations. Furthermore, RPH3A expression is selectively downregulated in cultured neurons treated with Aß25-35 peptides. Our data suggest that presynaptic SNARE dysfunction forms part of the synaptopathology of AD.